Going vegan has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice in the past decade. While people have a variety of different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet, many vegans tend to have one thing in common: weaker teeth than carnivores. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or newly considering making the switch, read on to learn what you can do to keep your teeth strong and cavity-free.
Although many healthy diets include eating lots of fruit, vegans may find themselves eating even more than their non-vegan peers. While your body will thank you for all the vitamins and minerals you’re giving it, your teeth may not. Sugary foods, even natural ones like fruit, can wear away at enamel and cause cavities. Your best bet? Swish a little water around your mouth after eating that juicy peach to flush away the excess sugar.
Another factor that can cause vegans to have weaker chompers than their meat-eating counterparts is an important amino acid called arginine. Typically found in meat, fish, and dairy, a 2015 study of salivary bacteria in petri dishes showed that in the dish where arginine was added, the growth of cavity-causing biofilms was inhibited. Great news for carnivores, but how can vegans get the same benefits? Happily, there are some vegan-friendly foods rich in arginine, such as black and soy beans, as well as toothpastes and mouthwashes enriched with powerful decay-fighter.
Whatever your reasoning, if you recently have, or are considering drastically changing your diet, contact your dentist for tips on how best to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
Having sensitive teeth can be a real bummer. It can prevent you from eating the foods you love and cause you pain. While it may sound pricey to treat sensitive teeth, there are a few simple things you can do to help relieve any pain and discomfort you may be having.
1. Change Your Toothpaste
Some toothpaste can be tough on those of us with sensitive teeth. Try switching to a tooth-sensitive toothpaste which will be a lot gentler on the teeth. These specially designed, less abrasive toothpastes can help to relieve your pain and prevent further sensitivity.
2. Change Your Brushing Habits
Brushing your teeth too hard, can damage enamel and cause sensitivity to your teeth. Try brushing gently with a soft-bristled brush to help relieve the pain you feel when you brush. By using less pressure you are saving yourself from wearing away at enamel and exposing sensitive nerves in your teeth.
3. Change Your Diet
By avoiding foods with a high acidity like citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes you could relieve sensitivity. These foods have high levels of acid that can destroy enamel and cause oral pain. Even drinks such as wine can wear away at enamel. Instead of totally cutting these foods from your diet, try to eat them with foods that will neutralize the acid and promote saliva such as cheese.
If you’d like to explore additional options or for more information on tooth sensitivity, consult your local Newton, MA dentistry professionals at Flawless Dental today!
Carbs & Oral Health
Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced, healthy, diet, but they are also one of the main culprits in tooth erosion and decay. Since we can’t completely cut carbs out of our diets, we here at Flawless Dental believe it’s important to understand how carbs impact our oral health so we can prevent dental damage.
Carbohydrates not only nourish you, but also the cavity-causing bacteria that lurks in your mouth. The bacterium thrives on the presence of carbohydrates, subsequently creating an acidic environment in your mouth. The presence of this acid is dangerous to tooth enamel, and can begin to erode your teeth… The first steps towards tooth decay.
What Can I Do About It?
Since it’s nearly impossible to remove carbs from your diet altogether, here are some simple steps to mitigating the damage carbs can do to your teeth and enamel.
1. Eat the right carbs. Avoid eating sticky carbs that cling to your teeth. When food sticks to your teeth, it provides a constant source of nourishment to the bacteria in your mouth. When oral bacteria thrives, your teeth suffer.
2. Keep a clean mouth. If end up eating sticky carbs (or anything, really), rinse and floss your teeth after a meal. This should dislodge any bacteria-inducing food particles leftover in your mouth. Stick to flossing and rinsing directly after eating, brushing your teeth after a meal can cause unwanted damage to enamel.
3. Don’t add unneeded acid. Try avoiding extremely acidic foods like carbonated beverages, citrus, and grains. By reducing your intake of high-acid foods, your overall oral health will improve.
4. Reduce the general acidity of your mouth. Should you end up eating Chewing gum after a meal stimulates the production of saliva. Increased saliva production helps neutralize the acidity level in your mouth, and keeps teeth and enamel safe.
5. Eat the carbs in one go. Have your carbs as a part of a meal instead of snacking on them throughout the day. This strategy limits your mouth’s exposure to the dangers of carbohydrates and reduces the need for additional rinsing and flossing sessions during your daily schedule.
Concerned about your diet’s impact on your oral health? Book an appointment with your local dentist at Flawless Dental in Newton, MA for expert, professional dental care.
Ever have a bad habit that you just can’t break? Chewing on ice may be a habit that can break your teeth. Before you start crunching on the last bits of cubes left in your glass, or reaching for ice chips to busy your mouth, there are a few things you should know:
1. Teeth Need Enamel
When you chew on ice, the enamel on your teeth wears down and the dentin becomes exposed. This puts your teeth at risk for decay and damage, not to mention uncomfortable sensitivity.
2. Icy Hot Cycles
Changing the environment in your mouth from a cold to hot temperature can cause fillings to expand, shortening their lifespan. This means an additional visit to the dentist, additional cost, and discomfort beforehand.
3. Puncture-Free Zone, Please
Pieces of ice can have sharp edges, which can easily puncture soft gum tissue. Your gums are exposed to enough abrasion, without having to dodge sharp, icy-cold bits!
4. Toothache, headache, brain freeze!
Chomping on ice involves severe movements with your jaw, which can easily lead to a headache, or a toothache if the soft tissue within your teeth becomes irritated. And the flash exposure to cold can definitely initiate the onset of a brain freeze.
Ice is not meant to be snack food, regardless of what weight-loss proponents may recommend. Chew on this information before mindlessly biting down on the next piece of ice.
While candy is a well-known culprit when it comes to tooth decay and cavities, it is also known as the downfall of many weight loss plans. When times get tough, we seem to always reach for the unhealthy treats, and it turns out that there is a scientific reason for us.
A study done by scientists at the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research at the University of Zurich found a link between stress and a desire for less healthy foods. Stress can cause teeth grinding but it can also cause us to reach for the cookie jar.
An increase in cortisol levels makes us more willing to eat junk food than healthful snacks. It also causes us to forget about the long-term repercussions of our choices. When under stress we choose to deal with the immediate need and so our future plans to lose twenty pounds and to have healthy teeth.
Stress is a major factor in harming your teeth and your overall health. So, next time you get stressed out, go for a stroll and then decide if that piece of chocolate is what you really need or if you just need to relax.
While you may have switched to a sugar substitute to save your waistline, it is possible that it could be saving your enamel as well.
Sugar substitutes do not have the same effect on teeth as sugar does. While sugar fuels the bacteria in plaque, creating acids that wear away at teeth, sugar substitutes lack that effect. In fact, some sweeteners contain polyols, which have antibacterial properties and do not feed bacteria.
Chewing gum with sugar substitutes such as xylitol has even been proven to help reduce cavities. Gum also helps stimulate saliva, which washes away food particles, and acids. Saliva effectively neutralizes the mouth so that acids cannot wear away at bacteria.
Try a sugar substitute in your coffee to help ward off some of the damaging effects of sugar.
One British mother was very unhappy when her five-year-old son needed a tooth pulled. Like many parents, she didn’t give her son soda or fruit juice often and couldn’t understand how his teeth had gotten so bad.
After asking her dentist, it turned out that the culprit was a healthy food. It was dried fruit like raisins, and dried apricots that were causing the problem. Dried fruits are considered healthy foods, but can be very harmful to teeth. Because dried fruits are sticky, it is hard to remove them from the grooves and pits of teeth. If bits of dried fruit are trapped in teeth for too long, they decay and the sugar turns to acid on the teeth. This acid feeds bacteria and helps destroy teeth.
Many healthy foods like fruits are high in acid, which can cause damage to teeth. Eating in moderation and drinking water or chewing gum after eating can help wash away some of those acids.
As you can see, even healthy foods can contribute to oral health problems if proper brushing and flossing aren’t maintained. Next time you give your child a handful of raisins, remember that they need to brush and floss afterward so that the sticky bits of dried fruit don’t cause problems with their teeth.
Talk to your dentist about more healthy foods that could be harming your teeth and how to combat against tooth decay.
It’s no secret anymore that sugary drinks present a serious risk to oral health. There is a well-documented link between consumption of sugary beverages and tooth decay. Sugar combines with bacteria in the mouth to form acid, which attacks tooth enamel, thus weakening the teeth.
With today’s meteoric rise in the consumption of sugar-laden beverages, experts are looking for ways to combat these ill effects. Public health advocates are pushing for a monetary tax to be placed on these sugary drinks. One early adopter of this method is Berkeley, California.
Passed in November 2014, Berkeley’s soda tax was the first of it’s kind in the United States. Spurned on by a grass-roots coalition and funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the soda tax increased the price of soda in Berkeley to seven-tenths of a cent per ounce more than other cities.
By passing along this additional cost to consumers, as small as it may be, proponents of the tax hope that soda drinkers will think twice before grabbing that Coca-Cola at the grocery store.
While the long-term success of this tax is yet to be seen, supporters hope that it will be a deterrent to the consumption of sugary drinks.
If you’re a frequent consumer of sodas or other sugary drinks, consider cutting down your intake and substituting milk or water. These healthy options will keep those pearly whites healthy and sparkling!
When we eat, we rarely think about how our favorite foods affect our teeth. Well we should! Various foods can have very different impacts on our oral health. Here are some types of food that are recommended and some that are not. Follow these, and your smile will remain radiant and you’ll feel healthier overall as well!
Cheese and wine, cheese on pizza, cheese and crackers— it’s safe to say we all love this delicious type of dairy! Cheese (just like milk) has plenty of calcium and a low acidity. Calcium is what strengthens teeth and bones, and helps to prevent from decay forming into your later years. Also, within cheese there is a protein called casein that helps inhibit bacteria from forming on our pearly whites, so ultimately cheese can aim at preventing cavities from forming!
This next one may seem an obvious thought because, as the saying goes, it keeps the doctors (and dentists) away! Yes, apples in all varieties require a lot of effort to eat (we’re talking lots of chewing!) thus allowing the saliva in our mouths to accumulate, which neutralizes enamel-harming acids in our mouth. Apples are also packed with fiber that helps to clean out teeth—sort of like a natural toothbrush. That doesn’t mean you can skip brushing twice a day, though!
This next food product may come as a surprise: sesame oil. This oil has been shown to be effective in treating plaque and preventing gingivitis. If you choose to cook with it, wonderful. If not, try using it in replacement of mouthwash. This technique of oil pulling can reduce the amount of bacteria in our mouths!
Your parents always told you greens were good, but now they are even better. Let’s talk broccoli! When we eat broccoli, the residues help prevent acids from sticking to teeth and starting the decay process. So if you must drink a soda, at least consider eating some broccoli beforehand!
Lastly, who doesn’t love a little minty flavor post meal? The ADA has suggested that chewing gum post-meal is beneficial for oral health. Chewing gum makes your mouth increase saliva production, and this aids in naturally ridding the mouth of bacteria buildup. Stick to the non-artificial flavoring if you can, as some of the colored choices contain more acid!
If you are curious about what effects your favorite foods could be having on your dental health, ask your dentist!
Did you know that nuts are a source of many important nutrients for your teeth? Nuts contain calcium, magnesium, and phosphate—all of which your body needs to keep your teeth healthy.
Calcium is essential for bone health, and for keeping your teeth strong. Some studies suggest calcium could play a role in decreasing tooth loss! Magnesium helps in the formation of bone and teeth, and in the absorption of calcium. Phosphate also helps the body absorb calcium. Your saliva contains both calcium and phosphate ions, which help protect your teeth from bacteria.
In addition to being full of great nutrients for your teeth, nuts are a healthy, protein-packed and sugar-free way to snack. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pine nuts, and peanuts are all excellent options. So next time you’re reaching for a coffee break bite or midnight snack, grab a handful of nuts instead!