Tag Archives: oral health

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

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Oral Health, Prevention, Wellness

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

8 Comments

Filed under Children's dentistry, Experience, Oral Health, Wellness

How To Get More From Your First Dental Visit

Dental VisitIf you’ve been away from the dentist in a while, and have (finally!) decided to get back on the wagon, your first visit is a great opportunity to start a good, long-term relationship.

To begin, I strongly recommend you choose your dentist based on a referral from friends, family or co-workers. Strong online reviews can also be an alternative if you’re new to an area.

To help ensure the optimum first visit–because it tends to be more involved; you are new to them and they to you–here are some tips:

Before Your Visit

1. Check out the website, location, reviews, and what services are offered, and ensure they match your needs.

2. When making the appointment, get the highlights–insurance questions, verify appointment time, appointment length, etc.

3. You know there will be paperwork, so check if it’s available online.  If not, make plans to be there 10-15 min ahead of your time. If you carry dental insurance, remember to bring your card. This gives you plenty of time to get it done, or else paperwork will spill over into the time the dentist or hygienist could be giving you their attention.

4. If you’ve had x-rays within the last year, request them from your previous dentist, or get new ones taken. Regular check ups and x-rays are key to staying in maintenance/small problems-easier-to-fix mode instead of darn-I-have-an-emergency-and-it’s-gonna-be-painful-and-cost-twice-as-much mode.

During Your Visit

5. If you have specific questions or issues, be sure to ask them (write them down and make a list if you think you might forget).

6. If you have any appliances you want checked, such as a night guard, retainers, snore guard, etc., take them with you so the dentist can check the fit and even freshen them up.

7. If you feel the discussion with your dentist is too complicated, please do not hesitate to ask and clarify. Discussions about your oral health should be a two-way street. And knowing the ‘why’ makes the ‘what’ and ‘how much’ easier to understand and modify if/when needed.

8. At the end of the visit, be sure to ask any questions that come up during your appointment. You can also consider buying any recommended products (they’re often at better prices than retail or pharmacy). Pick up a business card or two as well, so as to have their contact info handy.

9. Relax! Every dentist and their team are aware that most people are somewhat anxious and uncomfortable during a dental visit. If something is uncomfortable, say so. Modern tools and technology can make dental treatment much more comfortable than in the past.

Keeping an open mind and a good attitude can allow the dental team to do their best, and in return, you get their best. Most dentists really do want to try to keep your visits comfortable and pleasant, and help you achieve and maintain great oral health. And your first dental visit can pave the way.

Ready to find your dental home? Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110        www. raodentistry.com

1 Comment

Filed under Experience, Wellness

Get The Skinny On How To Avoid The Dentist

I hate my ‘fat’ jeans. You know, the pair you have to reach for when you pack on a few extra pounds.

I know, I know. I know the whole eating better, exercising more, drink more water, etc. etc. But then I think, hey, life is short and indulge a little every now and then. A cookie. Or two. That slice of cake.     

But never for very long.

Why?

Is it because I have super human will power, or a super model’s appetite?

Um . . . no.

It’s because I HATE my fat jeans.

H. A. T. E.

Enough to walk away, no matter how reluctantly, from any sugary treat tempting me into submission and reach for something healthier, like a treadmill.

So much for the power of positive thinking, huh? The benefits of a positive attitude, how it can change your life.

But is it wrong to open the door to such negative thinking?

Maybe. All I know is, that for me, it WORKS.

And I’m not the only one.

I see it everyday at our practice. While most people don’t like coming to the dentist, a select few come pretty close to guaranteeing they don’t. They’ve hacked the system.

These are the people who show up every 6 months like clockwork, rarely skipping their check up and teeth cleaning appointment. They brush and floss every day as if they’re getting paid to.

They even go a step further and invest in mega prevention: a quality electric toothbrush to get the cleanest clean possible, and a night guard to protect their teeth . . . and actually use the darn things.

The result? They seldom have dental problems. They breeze in and out. Their appointments are short and sweet, uneventful. Any excitement there may be comes from catching up about their family and vacations, not their teeth. They’re nowhere close to the drill.

Why?

Because they don’t want to see me.

They make a good case for the power of negative thinking, don’t you think? They take control, do what they need to do, and make it work for them.They save time, money and treatment, and in return, get great oral health.

In short, they use this power for good, not evil, and win.

And now, if you want to avoid the dentist, you can. And it’s fat-free.

(214) 522-3110                   www.raodentistry.com

If your goal is great dental health for the long-term, call or contact us via our website. Or let us know in the comments.

7 Comments

Filed under Oral Health, Wellness

Love and Logic in Children’s Dentistry

What’s the best way to get children feeling comfortable for a dental visit? To make if FUN, of course!

The key to getting children set on the right path to great oral health is to start EARLY! Like any other activity, the more enjoyable it is, chances are children will look forward to it and be more engaged (the same goes for adults too!). While adults do take the majority stake, let it be known that our “little” patients have a very special place in our practice and our hearts 🙂

We encourage parents to bring their little ones for a “Happy Visit”–a first visit during which all they do is get comfortable and enjoy rides in the chair, play with Mr Thirsty, or try on gloves for size! We progress to a cleaning and check up step by step, so as to avoid them getting overwhelmed. We have a pint sized corner table as well, where siblings can sit and color or read.

Last, but most importantly, what is a good dental check-up without a reward? There are stickers, character toothbrushes, and the big one–the TOY CHEST–filled with goodies galore! Each child is welcome to take a present home, something they never seem to need reminding of on later visits . . .

It is recommended that you bring in your child soon after the first tooth erupts, and we are happy to share some common do’s and don’ts to keep those baby teeth healthy, and the same when comes time for the adult teeth.

While we offer many dental services for children-cleanings, check-ups, sealants, x-rays, fluoride, fillings, extractions-we only do what each child is comfortable with at the time of their visit.

We understand that each child is an individual, and if needed, we are happy to enlist the services of a pediatric dentist or an orthodontist from our referral network. Our priority is the comfort and care of your child, and that never changes.

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

www.raodentistry.com

9 Comments

Filed under Children's dentistry, Dental