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Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

April 19th, 2018

 

 

Acid Attack!

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid!

Acid is what eats a way at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.

The Litmus Test

Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy.

Acids vs. Carbs

Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy.

Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.

Note, sweets and starchy foods are lumped into one category since they both are composed of simple sugars in their most basic building blocks.  So if you think eating potato chips are healthier than eating M&Ms, they are not. You are eating sugar in both cases.

Does it matter how many times a day I snack on these foods or drinks?

The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to
occur.  Also, the frequency is just as important to note.  If you frequently snack on acidic foods or drinks and/or sweet or starchy foods and drinks, then you are MORE at risk to develop dental caries (cavities)!

For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.

Six ways to protect your teeth against tooth decay:

1.  Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches.

This isn't difficult, however you have to make a choice requiring will power.

2. Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal.

Decrease snacking.  If must snack between meals, try carrot sticks or celery sticks.

 3. Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.

Make a mental note, drinking sodas or sweetened drinks are just empty calories that do not provide any nutritional value.

4. Swish with water after meals and snacks.

Trying doing it for 30 seconds each time.

5. Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup.

Floss at least once a day and brush twice a day.

6. And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

 

How Being Vegan Affects Your Teeth

March 1st, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that a plant-based diet is optimal for health. Omnivores and vegans alike
benefit from the nutrients present in plants.

But how does what we eat relate to our dental health?

Is a vegan diet better or worse for dental health?

Well, it depends. There are some concerns for oral health when one consumes a vegan diet. Here are the main ones:

Vitamin B12 deficiency

A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Vegans should supplement with adequate B12, as plants do not provide this important nutrient.

Lack of remineralizing foods

Remineralization occurs when essential minerals that support hardened, healthy enamel are resupplied to the tooth after loss caused by acid erosion. The best remineralizing foods include cheese, meat, and milk, but nuts and leafy greens can also help.

Lack of important amino acids

One example is the amino acid arginine, which is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy.
Arginine helps prevent cavities and gum disease by breaking down dental plaque. While  arginine is found in higher quantities in meat, vegan sources of arginine include pumpkin seeds, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas.

Calcium concerns

Your body needs enough calcium to support healthy teeth and gums. Vegans need to supplement their diet with plenty of plant sources that contain calcium (almonds, leafy greens, beans, etc.) as well as fortified vegan milks (almond, soy, rice, etc.).

Frequent snacking

Continual snacking provides an environment for bacteria to thrive and attack your tooth’s  enamel. Vegans may be more prone to frequent snacking in an effort to meet their body’s need for energy. You may find eating meals with a higher fat content helps you stay full for longer periods of time.

More sugars/starches in the diet

It can be easy as a vegan to eat a diet based on sweet/starchy foods like fruits and grains  (cereal, bread, pasta, crackers, rice, etc.). But the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay thrive on sugar. Make sure to round out your diet with non-sugary foods, such as tofu, nuts, seeds, and plenty of vegetables.

If you’re a vegan, you already know you have to be mindful of certain key nutrients that you may need to focus on or supplement in your diet. Keep this list in mind to ensure your dental health is also in tip-top shape!

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.