Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Teeth

Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing are essential to a healthy smile, but did you know nutrition has an effect on your dental health, too?

Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as overall health.

Foods for Optimum Oral Health

  • Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables help promote strong teeth and bones.
  • Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts and beans is good for strong teeth.
  • Vitamin C promotes gum health, so eat plenty of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes and spinach.

Smart snacking also can keep your mouth in good shape. Resist the urge to snack frequently — the more often you eat, especially between meals, the more likely you are to introduce acid attacks on your teeth. If you do snack, choose wisely. Forgo sugary treats such as hard or sticky candy and opt for nutritious choices such as raw vegetables, fruits, plain yogurt and popcorn. Remember to brush after snacking to keep cavities at bay. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of food particles.

Caring for a baby? Avoid pacifying your infant, toddler or young child with a bottle of juice, formula or milk. Sucking on the bottle bathes the teeth and gums in liquid which can contribute to tooth decay.

In addition to healthful eating, oral health problems can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, flossing once a day, drinking fluoridated water and seeking regular oral health care.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Researchers Have Developed a New Way to Cure Cavities in Teeth

Kashmira Gander wrote . . . . . . . . .

Scientists have developed a new substance to treat dental cavities without making a costly and unpleasant trip to the dentist.

Inspired by the proteins in our bodies which form teeth, the new product uses peptides—which are structurally similar to proteins—to repair the enamel on the part of the tooth which requires treatment.

The team at the University of Washington used peptides derived from a protein called amelogenin, which is vital for forming the hard enamel on teeth, to create the substance which remineralizes tooth enamel.

Researchers tested their peptide substance on dental lesions created artificially in a laboratory. They found that after each application, between 10 to 50 micrometres of new enamel was created. The study was published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engingeering.

Enamel is created in a process called amelogenesis as the tooth grows inside the mouth. However, once a tooth has stopped growing, the ameloblasts, or the cells that make up enamel, die away. And when bacteria in our mouths metabolize sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates, such as from bread and bananas, an acid is created which demineralizes enamel, explained Sami Dogan, co-author of the study at the University of Washington School. This process can be prevented by brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

The researchers hope that the formulation could one day be sold in over-the-counter products such as toothpaste to prevent and treat tooth decay, or put into clinical products used by dentists.

“Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental health care,” said Mehmet Sarikaya, lead author of the study and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington.

The latest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics published in 2015 showed that 91 percent of adults aged between 20 to 64-years-old had dental caries, and 27 percent had untreated tooth decay.

Professor Damien Walmsley, the scientific adviser for the British Dental Association, was skeptical about the scope of the new research.

“Regenerative dentistry is an exciting area to research, of which peptide-enabled formulations are a part. However, it’s unrealistic to hope that this technology, when it comes to fruition, could ever replace fillings or crowns where there is extensive tooth decay,” he told Newsweek. “It’s only likely to ‘rebuild’ enamel in the very early stages of tooth decay or where the teeth are eroded.”

He added: “In the meantime one can stop such damage to teeth by reducing sugary snacks to mealtimes, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and visiting your dentist on a regular basis.”

Source : Newsweek

Five Foods That Cause Stains to the Teeth

Margie Monin Dombrowski wrote . . . . . . . .

Proper oral hygiene is of course indispensable for maintaining a bright smile, but there is one other important bit of advice: Watch what you eat and drink. Certain foods and beverages can discolor teeth. If you want to protect your pearly whites, read on for some common culprits that stain your teeth.

Pasta Sauce

Because of their acidity, bright red hue and tendency to cling to the teeth, the tomatoes in pasta sauce can leave your teeth vulnerable to staining. Dine on some dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale and spinach, beforehand to create a protective film over the teeth. The film will ward off tomatoes’ staining effect, so spring for a green salad as an appetizer.

Curry

Curry, a spice that works well in Indian food and exotic dishes, is also a cause of discolored teeth. Its deep pigmentation can yellow teeth over time. Due to its high staining factor, curry is something you may want to limit in your diet. Whenever you dine on curry-spiced food, mix in fresh fruits and vegetables that prevent stains, such as apples, carrots, cauliflower and celery.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a healthy salad dressing, but it can also darken your teeth. The reason? Its dark natural color, of course. It also sticks to your teeth, which can lead to staining if it’s not quickly brushed away. You don’t have to give up on this light salad dressing. Whenever you have a salad with balsamic vinegar, be sure to include a crunchy lettuce; chewing the lettuce will help clean the staining balsamic vinegar from your teeth as you eat.

Berries

Berries provide health benefits, such as antioxidants, but they also have the potential to stain your teeth. The deep hue in blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries in particular can cause staining, regardless of whether they are eaten whole, drunk as juice or processed as jelly and jam. Don’t let them linger in your mouth for too long, and drink water to combat their staining effect. Finish with a glass of milk or a serving of hard cheese, both of which neutralize acid and strengthen teeth.

Beverages

A number of different drinks, including coffee, tea, sodas, sports drinks and wine, can cause stains due to their acidity. Teas of all colors, even white tea, have been shown to stain teeth and erode enamel. Sports drinks also damage tooth enamel and discolor teeth. Both light and dark sodas, because of their acidity, also cause discoloration and even encourage further staining from foods. Not only can red wine stain teeth; white wine can as well. Believe it or not, white wine is more acidic than red, which may cause more damage and discoloration to the teeth. Limiting your intake of all of these beverages will benefit both your oral and overall health.

Source: Colgate

How to Reduce Tooth Erosion When Consuming Acidic Foods and Drinks

Honor Whiteman wrote . . . . . . . .

Researchers from King’s College London in the United Kingdom sought to find out which acidic foods and drinks are the worst for tooth erosion, and whether the way in which we consume them has an effect.

Study leader Dr. Saoirse O’Toole — who works in the Department of Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics at the King’s College London Dental Institute — and colleagues report their findings in the British Dental Journal.

Tooth erosion — also known as dental erosion or acid erosion — occurs when acids wear away tooth enamel, which is the substance that coats the outer layer of each tooth. Over time, this erosion could give rise to tooth discoloration, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.

One leading cause of tooth erosion is acids in our foods and drinks, and soda and fruit juices are among the biggest offenders.

That said, as Dr. O’Toole and colleagues note, some individuals who consume such foods do not experience tooth erosion, which begs the question: does how we consume dietary acids impact our risk of tooth erosion?

To find out, the researchers primarily drew on data from a previous study, which included 600 adults. Of these, 300 had severe tooth erosion, while the remaining 300 did not.

As part of the study, subjects were asked to report their frequency, timing, and duration of dietary acid consumption. Additionally, participants were asked to report any drinking habits prior to swallowing acidic drinks — for example, sipping hot drinks or swishing them in the mouth.

The researchers also looked at data from other studies to determine which are the worst foods and beverages for tooth erosion.

Acidic foods, drinks worst for tooth erosion

Unsurprisingly, the analysis revealed that acidic foods and drinks posed the greatest risk of tooth erosion.

The team found that the risk of moderate or severe tooth erosion was 11 times higher for adults who drank acidic beverages twice daily, particularly when they were consumed between meals, compared with those who consumed such beverages less frequently.

When acidic drinks were consumed with meals, the risk of tooth erosion was slashed by half.

“It was also observed that one or less dietary acid intakes a day was not associated with erosive tooth wear,” the researchers note. “If a patient must go above one dietary acid intake per day, it would be prudent to advise them to consume the acids with meals.”

When consumed regularly, fruit teas and fruit-flavored candies — even fruit-flavored medications — may pose a risk for tooth erosion, the team reports, as can vinegars and pickled foods.

Interestingly, the researchers found that adding fruit flavorings to beverages — for example, adding lemon to hot water — made them just as acidic as cola.

What is more, sugar-free soda was found to be just as erosive for teeth as sugar-sweetened soda, and hot drinks were found to have greater erosive potential than cold drinks.

Sipping, swishing drinks may erode teeth

Importantly, however, the scientists found that it’s not just the type of foods and beverages we consume that affect our risk of tooth erosion; the study revealed that the risk of tooth erosion is increased when we sip drinks, as well as when we swish, hold, or rinse them in the mouth before swallowing.

‘It is well known that an acidic diet is associated with erosive tooth wear. However, our study has shown the impact of the way in which acidic food and drinks are consumed.”

The American Dental Association recommend against holding or swishing acidic beverages in the mouth — advice that is backed up by this latest research.

They also explain that drinking water or milk when eating and rinsing the mouth after consuming acidic drinks may help to reduce tooth erosion.

“With the prevalence of erosive tooth wear increasing,” adds Dr. O’ Toole, “it is vitally important that we address this preventable aspect of erosive tooth wear.”

“Reducing dietary acid intake can be key to delaying progression of tooth erosion,” she continues. “While behavior change can be difficult to achieve, specific, targeted behavioral interventions may prove successful.”

Source: Medical News Today

Foods for Healthy Teeth

Amy Freeman wrote . . . . . . .

When it comes to the health of your teeth, you really are what you eat. Sugary foods, such as candy and soda, contribute to tooth decay. One of the first areas to decline when your diet is less than ideal is your oral health, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Use this healthy foods list to improve your diet and the health of your mouth.

Cheese

If you’re one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. A study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry, reported at EurekAlert! found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. It’s thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens typically find their way onto any healthy foods list. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including possibly treating gum disease in pregnant women, according to MedlinePlus. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale on a pizza. You can also try adding some greens to a smoothie.

Apples

While the ADA recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples, might be sweet, but they’re also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn’t the same as brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack either a whole apple or apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.

Carrots

Like apples, carrots are crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Along with being high in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A. Top a salad with a few slices of raw carrots, or enjoy some baby carrots on their own.

Celery

Celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, watery and full of those pesky strings, but like carrots and apples, it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Make celery even tastier by topping it with cream cheese.

Almonds

Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch. You can also add a handful to a salad or to a stir-fry dinner.

Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you’re drinking. Since it has no calories or sugar, water is always the best pick, especially compared to juice or soda. Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile.

Source: Colgate