Tag Archives: gums

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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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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5 Simple Steps to Deal With Sensitive Teeth

Here are five simple tips to deal with tooth sensitivity (or “dentinal hypersensitivity”):

1. For immediate relief, rinse with warm salt water (one teaspoon per cup) in the affected area. This has a soothing effect on the gums, and can be done several times a day.

2. Till a cause can be determined, avoid any hard or crunchy foods like nuts, granola, pretzels, etc. If a cavity is brewing, excessive pressure could increase discomfort.

3. Switch to a desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne or Crest Sensitivity, preferably without a whitening (and often abrasive) ingredient.

4. If using a manual toothbrush (soft or extra-soft only), be sure to brush gently in the affected area. There are no brownie points for using more muscle! The better electric toothbrushes will signal if too much pressure is applied to prevent you from doing it.

5. Lastly, but most importantly, SEE YOUR DENTIST! Let your dentist examine your teeth and discuss your symptoms to see if the sensitivity is due to gum disease, infection, teeth grinding, sinus issues or a cavity. This applies especially if your sensitivity persists for more than a few days, gets progressively worse or if heat becomes a trigger.

For those with chronically sensitive teeth, a higher content of fluoride is often helpful, such as a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste.

Have more questions? Call us at (214) 522-3110 and let us help!

www.raodentistry.com

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