Effects of A Vegan/Plant-Based Diet on Dental Health

According to Google, the search for a vegan or plant-based diet has more than doubled in the last few years. Combined with declining meat sales and celebrities openly adopting this diet for weight loss and better health, it has gained popularity in recent years. Vegan Diet and Dental Health

Vegan=no animal products (meat, dairy) but can include processed foods.

Plant-based=whole foods that come from plants, unprocessed.

Technically, they’re not the same.

Diet Affects Overall Health, Including Dental Health

Two things prompted me to explore the effects of a vegan/plant-based diet on dental health.

First off, I cut the majority of meat and dairy out of my own diet (I consume fish and dairy on a limited basis) and turned to more whole foods. My reasons included lowering my cholesterol–which tends to run high in my family (I will go to great lengths to avoid medication!), to improve the overall quality of my diet and set a better example for my children. I’m a long distance runner, so improving my fitness via better nutrition was also a big incentive. As you can see, any dental benefits were not even on my list.

Secondly, conversations with some patients. A few relayed to me, of their own accord, that ever since they switched to a plant-based diet (to improve other health issues), they noticed in consequence their mouth had been feeling better too. This was confirmed by my hygienist who noted they had much less plaque build-up and healthier gums than previously.

Influence of A Plant-Based Diet On Dental Health

Vegan Diet and Dental HealthIn my opinion, there is no question that a diet without (or less) meat and dairy, and with more plant-based, whole and unprocessed food is beneficial to overall health, lowering the risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Several studies, including the now-famous China Study, back this up.

Since the mouth is attached to the rest of the body–this benefits our oral health as well.

In addition, a plant-based diet tends to be more alkaline in nature, which then leads to less inflammation. Chronic inflammation negatively impacts our body and affects digestion, metabolism and immunity.  Less inflammation carries over to our gums as well.

Less inflammation = easier teeth cleaning, less sensitivity, less bleeding.

A common concern is that a vegan diet fails to provide adequate calcium and Vitamin D (due to elimination of dairy) which could adversely affect teeth. However, studies looking at these deficiencies were not done exclusively on those on vegan/plant-based diets, but the general population. This means eating more whole foods does not necessarily lead to these deficiencies.

If done correctly, a plant-based diet offers a huge variety of options which can provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for good dental as well as overall health.

Eating Your Way To Better Dental Health

At the end of the day, it is not my goal to convince you to make drastic changes to your diet that perhaps scare you, solely for the benefit of your teeth and gums.

But should you desire to approach your health in terms of whole health, you may consider looking into making small changes that help not just the rest of your body, but something as “small” as your teeth and gums.

Have you made changes to your diet and experienced any effect on your dental health?

(214) 522-3110                              www.raodentistry.com

 

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6 Remarkable Ways To Get A Smile Makeover

6 Remarkable Ways To Get A Smile MakeoverEver seen a hot model on the cover of a magazine? Of course you have. The seductive pose, the trendy outfit (or part of it) and often, a dazzling smile.

Have you stopped to think why that model, male or female, has beautiful white teeth?

Because it’s attractive and it sells.

Granted most of us will not be making the next cover of Glamor, but what if you’re single and looking for that special someone? Or if you’re hoping to ace that job interview? Or maybe, when you look in the mirror your smile doesn’t make you look as young as you feel?

Ladies and gentleman, the eyes may be the window to your soul but your smile holds the key.

A beautiful smile is by no means the only deciding factor, but it sure does make you–and your case–a whole lot more appealing. Study after study reports people with an attractive smile are perceived to be more friendly, intelligent and successful.

So how do you get there? These days, there are several options available, at all cost levels. Whether you’re a busy teacher, a high level executive or a parent who chauffeurs his kids to the orthodontist every month and forgets about himself, check these out:

1. Teeth Whitening

From over-the-counter whitening strips to home whitening kits to in-office treatments, teeth whitening has never been so accessible or affordable. With proper follow up (yes, you do have to do that) and use of a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) for sensitivity, whitening is the simplest place to start. It may be the only boost you need for a brighter smile, fresher smile.

Add an electric toothbrush to your regimen for daily stain removal, and get double the benefit.

2. Cosmetic re-contouring

Minor chips at the edges of front teeth can leave your them looking ragged, and often they’re too small to place fillings. But some quick and snazzy smoothing can make them look better in just a few minutes. This also works in some cases where teeth are uneven in height and the discrepancy is minor. Ta-daah! Talk about a quick, easy and painless fix.

3. Clear aligners to straighten teeth

Had braces years ago but a few teeth have shifted slightly? Our clear aligner system can get your teeth back in line, usually in a few months without traditional braces.

4. Cosmetic fillings

The days of silver fillings are (mostly) behind us. That silver tooth will end up in the white range in most dental offices today. In my practice, rarely do I hear the words “I miss how dark my tooth use to look!”. Okay, never.

5. Porcelain Veneers

For resistant or internal dark stains that have nothing to do with drinking red wine (so drink away), or misaligned front teeth that would rather bypass braces, porcelain veneers are a great option. You can change the shape, size and color of your teeth and a couple of weeks later, end up with a brand new smile.

Caveat: you have to be a good candidate, or else these will not be successful long-term.

6. Cosmetic crowns (“caps”)

Despite my almost daily offer to add bling to teeth, I have yet to see any takers. I could easily add a diamond or a blinking LED light to that front tooth and virtually guarantee a one-0f-a-kind smile that stands out.

Surprisingly, my patients prefer beautiful, tooth colored crowns. And because they do, we have porcelain crowns to match and blend in with the rest of your pearlies.

As you can see, there are several ways to get a nicer, brighter smile without breaking your budget. While a full makeover is optimal for some, most times a few small or short term treatments can get you smiling bigger, brighter and look your best. Remarkable!

Want to know more about cosmetic procedures, or ready to start on your best smile?

Call or email us today!

(214) 522-3110                  www.raodentistry.com

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5 Super Easy Ways to Help You Remember To Floss…For Good

Get your floss on, and ace your next dental check up and cleaning. We’ll ignore the fabulous health your mouth will be in5 Super Easy Ways To Help You Remember To Floss...For Good as a minor consequence.

The only thing is, you have to remember to do it.

Every night.

So, just (well, sort of) like Mrs Jones….Let’s get it on.

Here are 5 super easy (and FREE!) ways to help you remember to floss:

1. Floss before you brush

You know you have to brush before you sleep at night, so making flossing a habit before you brush is the easiest, simplest way to guarantee that it will happen. Plus, flossing beforehand removes plaque and food debris so flouride from your toothpaste can get in between your teeth more effectively.

2. Go post-al

If you’re a visual learner, this will work for you. Stick a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Preferably right in your face, so to speak. Kinda hard to ignore neon green paper telling you to FLOSS (in caps, for a stronger effect). “Or else”, if you have a flair for the dramatic.

3. Go smart

If you are one of the 3.5 people who doesn’t own a smart phone, skip this one. Open up your calendar app and set a reminder alert (with sound) so it beeps, barks or yodles at the time you usually get ready for bed. Brrriiinggg! Floss.

4. Reward yourself

Nothing like a little incentive to ensure that the job gets done. We do it with kids, so why not grown ups? Pick an enticing reward for, say 30 straight days of flossing. Come the last day, treat yourself to a reward of your choice and partake of the joy well-earned.

5. Do as I say AND as I do

Parents. Time to walk the talk and floss the…um…floss. Kids need to floss. You need to floss. Why not make it a double date? Setting a good example while taking great care of your gums and teeth…well you’re just setting the stage for a lifetime of good oral care. Also works with your significant other, and pet, if they’re willing.

Give one, or all, a sincere try. You’ll surprise yourself at how easy it is to be a flossing pro and will shout these tips from the roof tops (I may be exaggerating slightly).

Did I miss any? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve that helped you remember to floss?

(214) 522-3110                          www.raodentistry.com

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Parents: How To Avoid Passing Dental Fear On To Your Kids

Parents: Avoid Passing Dental Fear To Your KidsSome of the most fun times at our practice are when kids come in for their check ups.

Whether they’re shy, playful or loud and chatty, they bring smiles all around (it’s hard not to when you’re so darn cute).

Beyond fun, what we love even more is the opportunity to give them a positive, happy dental experience. There’s no better opportunity to make a good impression as when they’re young and, well, impressionable.

Unfortunately, many adults have experienced the opposite. Going to the dentist was scary, boring or just plain unpleasant, planting the seed of fear that few can shake off over the years, despite numerous advances.

Today, dentistry is more comfortable than ever before, from

–effective anesthetics,

–fast acting materials, to

–cushy chairs…with pillows,

happy gas (yippee!) or something stronger, and

–iPods for music to tune out, if need be.

But mostly, we care a whole lot more about your comfort.

Regardless, as parents, we always aim to do better for our children. In terms of establishing good habits, one of the best things we can do is to NOT pass on our fears to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the taste of broccoli (yum, in my opinion!), a fear of heights or, going to the dentist.

If we encourage good habits in our children and do so in a positive light, they will not only be better received but practiced more authentically.

Which is exactly why this is so important. If you had a not-so-great experience with your dentist, passing dental fear on to your kids will only continue the negative cycle.

Using a dental visit as a “threat”: if you don’t behave, I’ll take you to the dentist, be ready, it’ll hurt or I always hated the dentist...comments such as these may sound innocent enough but children, especially as young as 2 or 3, take them to heart. Already, going to the dentist or brushing their teeth becomes a punishment rather than part of taking care of themselves.

Instead, using positive reinforcement, prizes or treats for a job well done, as well as oohing and aahing about healthy, bright and shiny teeth can be a better alternative.

These little steps can go so far in breaking the negative cycle. Kids start appreciating the value of oral health, and establishing good habits that last for life.

Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Let’s take the positive approach and get our children started on a path to a lifetime of great oral health.

If you’re ready to get your kids off to a great start on their oral health (and have fun while doing it), call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                             www.raodentistry.com

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Getting Back to Gratitude

gratitude list for thanksgivingThursday is Thanksgiving….a day to devote to family, football, enough food to give our stretchy pants a real challenge….including lots and lots of pie.

And, of course, gratitude.

Most of us probably don’t take as much time as we should to reflect on everything we are grateful for. If you have, you’ll perhaps agree that it can be uplifting and humbling at the same time. And long, if we’re honest.

Since much of what we do around here has to do with taking care of oral health, I thought it would be a good place to highlight for the upcoming holidays, even though we need it all year round.

Here is a partial list of gratitude, for mouth, teeth and everything in and around, that lets us:

Eat

food to grow and nourish

Smile

be friendly or show respect

Drink

be it water or wine

Kiss

show love love love

Breathe

to live and to meditate

Bite

teeth to eat food

Taste

the “sense” to enjoy

Laugh

humor, happiness and joy

Speak

to communicate, connect and of course, say thanks

And speaking of, I am supremely grateful for the wonderful ladies I work with, and the wonderful patients we get to serve.

How about you? I want to know what you’re grateful for! No matter how (if) you celebrate Thanksgiving, it feels great to take a minute and reflect on what’s made your life better this year. Let me know in a comment below.

(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com

Image: verybestbaking

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Dental Care For Athletes

dental care for athletes

Do you secretly dream of being the next super-athlete, say like Tiger Woods, Serena Williams or Lance Armstrong (minus the doping and the drama)?

Whether you’re on the road to glory, or an everyday athlete starring in your own life story, you’ll need:

Commitment. Dedication. Hard work.

and…….

your TEETH.

Yup. No matter the sport, your teeth are going in with you. To stay in the game, you’ll need to stay in tip-top shape, and  your teeth need to be an asset, not a liability.

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Wear your protective gear

Helmets, padding and mouth guards….are not athletic couture, but meant to keep you safe, and last more than just one game. This goes for all contact sports, but if you’re a heavy duty gym buff (like a weight lifter), a mouth guard is for you too.

Skip it and you risk your teeth getting bruised, battered or knocked out.

2. Eating more sugar? Floss it out

Energy bars, gels and chews….all that sugar may give your body that extra oomph when pushing your limits, but be sure to come home to your toothbrush and floss later that day, or else contend with an increased risk of cavities down the road.

3. Sports drinks….are they in you?

If you’re guzzling sports drinks to fuel your endurance….neither the acidic pH nor the high content of sugar are doing your enamel any favors, making it easy for bacteria to march forth and do damage.

Be sure to:

  •  moderate your intake–by choosing water outside of your activities, and
  •  fuel your prevention–by using higher fluoride in your daily oral care.

Pump up your daily oral care routine by asking your dentist for a prescription strength flouride toothpaste or gel, or use over-the-counter mouth rinses like ACT for extra protection from enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity and possible decay.

And, of course, keep up with your check ups with your dentist so you can maintain good oral health and stay ahead of any issues. Score!

Time out? Cut off? Delay of game?

Not you.

By building these simple–but effective–habits into your oral care, the last thing you’ll worry about during game time is your teeth….well, until you flash your big smile for the front pages ;)

Want to score big on your oral health? Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com

Image source: Sura Nualpradid

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If You Have A Sweet Tooth….

. . . . remember, when you’re nice to your teeth, they’re nice to you :)

sweet tooth

This is a friendly reminder: Don’t dessert your teeth, take time to care for them every single day!

Do you need to pamper YOUR sweet teeth? Let us show you how. Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110               www.raodentistry.com

Photo courtesy of The Eco-Dentistry Association

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