Tag Archives: teeth

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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Filed under Oral Health, Prevention, Wellness

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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Filed under Oral Health, Wellness

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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Filed under Experience, Health, Smile, Wellness

How To Prevent Your Teeth From Breaking

This has been a summer of hot temperatures, hail storms and the Olympics. prevent teeth from breaking

And broken teeth.

Is there an ice-chewing convention in town that I don’t know about?

Pretty much every week this summer, we’ve had folks break their teeth on “salad” or “oatmeal”, or my favorite, while “flossing” (ahem).

Okay, now I know not everyone is crunching on ice (or hard candy), but if there IS a community event of the sort, I’d appreciate some advance notice.

It goes without saying–but I’ll say it anyway–we’ll take take of you and your teeth as needed, but let me take this moment to harp on something, which is the concept of preventing such a tooth calamity.

If you know/suspect/have been told that you clench or grind your teeth, please consider getting a night guard. A custom guard from your dentist is the ideal choice, but if that’s over your budget, get one from a drugstore.

All that muscle action on your teeth can not only chip or break your teeth, but weaken the fillings and crowns you already have. Not to mention trigger jaw pain and headaches.

If you chew ice, consider quitting. Your teeth WILL eventually lose that battle. Trust me.

Switching to shaved ice is a tad better, but only a tad.

If you have a cavity you’re aware of, it will only get bigger (I have yet to hear of one that self-heals). It’s worth it to get it taken care of while it’s small, before it gets big enough to cause you pain or break your tooth (and your wallet).

Skipping x-rays, just this once? Well, okay, but know that without them we can’t see in between your teeth or what’s going on under your crowns and old fillings. You need to be comfortable with taking that risk more than your dentist.

Contrary to popular misconception, we don’t take pictures of your teeth for a secret dental Facebook society. We take them to gauge your oral health and diagnose more accurately.

Small problems caught early = easier to fix

A couple of things to keep in mind–if you’re a “cruncher”, i.e., a lover of nuts, granola, chips, etc., take it easy when you eat those things. An almond is just as tasty as 4 plopped in your mouth all together, and less risky.

See? Making a few small changes can keep you miles away from a dental emergency, a tooth ache or looking like a hillbilly.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
~ George C. Lichtenberg

Don’t want to be a statistic? Ask us how to get prevention for your teeth into high gear:
(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com
Image source: Phaitoon

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Filed under Dental, Teeth Grinding

OMG! Did She Just Say Those Aren’t Real?

I’m talking about teeth, of course. What else?

Every now and then teeth have the audacity to fail on you. They can split, fracture, or just plain decay into the nether regions where no amount of heroic effort can bring them back to live the good life. Time to say adios, amigo.

But before you send your tooth on to tooth heaven, you may want to decide what’s next-how to replace it (or not).

Once the tooth has been declared a goner . . . ahem . . . “non-restorable”, talk to your dentist about your options, and the pros and cons of each. In some situations, a replacement may not even be necessary.

Of the options available today, the latest and the greatest is the Dental Implant. The implant, when restored, comes closest to making the finished product look natural and blend in with your smile.

Dr William Dragolich, our friendly neighborhood periodontist, specializes in the placement of dental implants, and has treated many of our patients, with great success.

Here is a great overview about implants by Dr Dragolich:

There is a lot of talk these days about implants. Mostly the references are to “cosmetic enhancements”. But, let’s talk about dental implants.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. It can also stabilize a loose or uncomfortable denture. Dental implants are an ideal choice for people in good general oral health and of all ages, who have lost one or more teeth.

Implants serve to support replacement teeth that look, feel and function like your natural teeth. In addition to keeping your smile attractive, you’ll find that with dental implants, bone health can be maintained. With a bridge or denture, some of the bone that previously surrounded the missing tooth starts to deteriorate. The loss of the jawbone can result in collapse of the cheeks and wrinkling. Excessive loss of the jawbone could increase the risk of a fracture. A dental implant keeps the jawbone healthy and intact by stimulation of the bone similar to a natural tooth.

Now, let’s look at another benefit of dental implants; they allow the remaining teeth to maintain their integrity. Because an implant stands alone, the replacement does not depend on the support of the neighboring healthy teeth. With a conventional tooth-supported fixed bridge, the adjacent teeth are ground down to support the cemented bridge. If these ground-down teeth suffer additional damage such as tooth decay or gum disease, the support of the bridge is compromised and may be lost. In addition, the teeth supporting the bridge may also be lost. Studies also indicate that a tooth anchoring a bridge is 3 times more likely to need a root canal.

Bothersome problems of dentures are also avoided with dental implants. By anchoring the denture to implants, there is less movement, less discomfort and better chewing function. In addition, confidence is gained in social settings knowing the dentures are secured while talking.

When considering implants, it should be noted that the start-to-finish timeline is a few weeks longer than conventional treatments, while the cost remains comparable to the fixed bridge option.

The success of dental implants is achieved through comprehensive evaluation and thoughtful planning by your general dentist and periodontist (gum doctor). Dr. Rao and Dr. William Dragolich, working together, will provide you with the information you need to decide if dental implants are the right choice for you.

Questions? Feel free to comment, call or email us and we’d be happy to answer them!

(214) 522-3110   www.raodentistry.com  raostaff@sbcglobal.net

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Filed under Cosmetic, Dental Implants

Warning! This Post Is Green!

Growing up, I used to love Sesame Street.

I still remember Kermit the Frog saying, “It’s not easy being green.”

But while being green may not be easy, going green doesn’t have to be hard.

So the next time you do yoga (to feel in sync with your spirit) while sitting in the dark (to conserve energy), here are some points to ponder:

1. Ditch the bottled water

Fluoride is in, folks! And those plastic bottles of water don’t have any. So get yourself a reusable bottle (and they make ’em so pretty these days), fill it with tap or filtered water.  Save the planet, your moolah and your teeth in one fell swoop.

2. I need that toothbrush, STAT.

Your old toothbrush can do a lot of things before it hits the landfill. Use it to clean your costume jewelry, your faucets, stains, your appliances, in between your tiles . . . even your cheese grater.

 3. You want me floss what??

While the best place for floss is in between your teeth (no, NOT the bathroom drawer), you can go into MacGyver mode and get creative. Floss can be used to hang frames, secure climbing plants, replace your fishing line if cut and it makes a great makeshift clothesline.

This is, by no means, the end to a long list of a little something we can ALL do to be a little kinder to Mother Earth.

Earth Day is April 22nd-let’s all put a drop in and make an ocean for a better planet, and we don’t have to move mountains to do it.

Thoughts? Want to add to the list? Share in the comments!

www.raodentistry.com     (214) 522-3110

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Filed under Dental, Dental Product, Environment

Burn, Baby Burn

Imagine this:

He’s at a swanky cocktail party. A gorgeous, sexy woman in a jaw-dropping slinky dress gives him the ‘come hither’ look. Curiosity (and temptation) win out and he heads over. He says hello. She waves a cigarette and says, “Got a light?”  He pulls out his lighter, and obliges. 

This may seem like a scene out of Mad Men, and has perhaps the brewings of a hot and heavy drama about to spew.

But while a bombshell with a cigarette can get your heart rate up, real life smoking is not quite as sexy. In fact, smoking-especially when combined with alcohol-is a major risk factor for Oral Cancer. This applies to men and women, and almost 90% of all oral cancer patients are smokers.

Let’s go from the outside in. Years of lighting up can put those not-so-attractive brown stains on your teeth, courtesy of tar and nicotine. Do it enough and you’re more at risk for irritated gums and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Sexy? I think not.

In addition, prolonged smoking can alter your sense of taste (some say this can lead to over-eating in an attempt to achieve taste satisfaction). And I haven’t even mentioned the less-than-tasty smoker’s breath.

But when we’re talking about oral cancer, it’s more than just discolored teeth or bad breath. We are talking serious stuff. Often there is no pain, and it’s difficult to do a thorough self check.

So I stress to you-keep up with your dental check ups! When you come see us, we do a screening at every visit, ask if anything is bugging you, and if something suspicious pops up, we emphasize a follow-up visit, or have you consult our friendly neighborhood specialist to know once and for all. This goes double if you smoke.

Next time you think about lighting up, how about not? Now THAT’S hot.

Questions? Call us at (214) 522-3110 and let us help! Or share in the comments.

www.raodentistry.com

PS: April is Oral Cancer Awareness month.

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Filed under Oral Cancer, Oral Health, Smoking