Posts Tagged ‘cavities’

The Differences Between Regular, Soy and Almond Milk

Monday, January 27th, 2014

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Many people have chosen sides for which type of milk they prefer. Cow, soy and almond varieties all provide nutritious sources of vitamins and minerals, but let’s look at which are the healthiest for your body and teeth.

For a healthy mouth, calcium and vitamin D rank as two of the best nutrients. As your mom told you, calcium helps promote strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, thereby increasing bone density and reducing the risk for softening. This will help lower the risk of cavities and other oral health problems, including gum disease. Besides soaking up the sun, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin D from fortified cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk
What we normally call “regular” milk is cow’s milk, a product of the cow’s mammary gland. In the store, you’ll typically find four various types of milk made from cows: whole (which is 3.5 percent milk fat), 2 percent, 1 percent and fat-free. Consumers who want to cut calories typically opt for fat-free milk. As far as nutrients go, milk is a great a source of calcium, vitamin D and protein.

Lactose, the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk, creates a digestive problem for some people who are lactose intolerant. They are often deficient in the enzyme lactase​, which is required to break down milk sugar. Too much milk (or milk products) with not enough lactase can trigger bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Soy milk
Soy milk, on the other hand, is not technically milk, but rather a beverage made from soybeans. It is made from soaking, grinding and boiling soy beans with water. This milk contains twice as much vitamin B-6 and a lot more iron than cow’s milk.

Almond milk
Almond milk is a beverage ground from almonds. Many people prefer its sweeter flavor to other milk alternatives. Since almonds are naturally very nutritious, almond milk does not need to be fortified with other ingredients like regular and soy milk. It is often the healthiest of these three milk options.

While 1 percent milk has around 30 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium, soy milk contains roughly 6 percent of calcium. Unsweetened almond milk surpasses both of those, with 45 percent of your daily intake. There is around 25 percent of vitamin D in regular milk, none found in soy and 25 percent in almond milk. Cow’s milk has half of the total fat of soy, still less fat than almond, with almost the same amount of sugar. All nutritional facts are based on a one cup, 2,000 calorie diet.

The bottom line: Almond milk is healthier than cow’s and soy milk. It is a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, as well as people looking to strengthen their smile and ward off cavities.

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Racing Toward Better Dental Health with Danica Patrick

Monday, January 20th, 2014

1397111_44698680NASCAR speedster Danica Patrick has launched a new campaign to give thousands of in-need Americans better oral health. Teaming up with Aspen Dental and Oral Health, the program is called the Healthy Mouth Movement, a community initiative designed to deliver free dental care to thousands of low-income communities across the country, spreading oral health education to millions more.

“Last year 100 million Americans didn’t visit a dentist, and millions more live in communities with little or no access to dental care,” Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, told Digital Journal. “This is an issue that affects a lot of hard-working people, including NASCAR fans, who are often living in pain. It’s time to do something about it, and that’s why I’m proud to partner with Aspen Dental and Oral Health America.”

Too many people live with gum disease - a problem that’s 100 percent preventable – and toothaches caused by cavities. These issues are a roadblock to staying focused at school and work, and can affect the body as a whole. After all, periodontal disease, or advanced stage gum disease, has linked diabetes and oral health together. Patrick reminds us that a healthy mouth paves the way for a healthy body.

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Educating Parents to Improve Kids’ Oral Health

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

tooth-decay-bad-breathTo improve children’s oral health and keep them active in the classroom, education for parents may be the first step. From the early 1970s to the 1990s, the amount of cavities in the baby teeth of children ages 2 to 11 declined, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. However, in their latest study, that trend flipped. A small yet significant rise in tooth decay showed that 42 percent of kids have some form of cavity or dental caries. That’s about 21 million American children.

Education starts at home, where parents are lifelong teachers. Since day one, we learn from what our parents do, how they treat others and how they take care of themselves. You are your kids’ learning models. The attitudes you maintain about oral health inspire theirs and can steer them to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Even if your kid seems to rebel against you sometimes, little Johnny or Sara will take after you more than you realize.

After all, tooth decay in primary teeth has hefty implications on dental health later in life.

“We do know from a number of studies that when children have tooth decay in their baby teeth, they tend to have decay later in their adult teeth,” lead researcher Bruce Dye of the National Center of Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News.

Encourage your children to eat nutritious meals and avoid frequent snacking. If you pack his or her lunch for school, make sure to throw in an apple, banana or some other fruit. Teach them from a young age to develop good habits for flossing and brushing. Dentists recommend that adults and kids floss once a day. Interestingly enough, it has been shown that flossing before brushing is more likely to develop into a habit. Why? Often after we finish with the toothbrush we feel like our mouths are sufficiently clean, so we postpone using the thread until tomorrow … or sometimes next month. Always floss before brushing!

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How Cranberries Protect Your Teeth from Cavity-causing Bacteria

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

1339875_95150591When you’re devouring Thanksgiving foods, the bacteria in your mouth are feasting too.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different kinds live on our gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. While some bacteria are helpful, others can cause harm, such as those that play a role in tooth decay.

To say sugar is the main cause of cavities isn’t quite the whole story. While it can do nasty damage to teeth, the leading cause of dental caries is called Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, which is a type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. In fact, it falls under the category of anaerobic bacteria, meaning that it can live without oxygen – think of anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting, which doesn’t consume a lot of oxygen, and aerobic workouts, such as long-distance running, which are known to lead to huffing and puffing.

Let’s take a look at the science behind S. mutans. This troublesome bacterium splits sugars in foods and uses them to build its own little capsule, which sticks tightly to the teeth. The bacteria produce a strong acid that attacks enamel and starts to erode the tooth. If the acids are not removed, it can end up creating tiny holes in the tooth - what we all know as cavities.

So, how do cranberries help protect against dental caries?
When you’re scooping delicious stuffing, turkey and gravy onto your plate at dinner time, don’t forget about cranberries! These red berries have been proven to contain a boatload of antioxidants and can help fight off dental plaque. A team from the University of California at Los Angeles and Oceanspray Cranberry showed that the flavonoids quercetin and myricetin in cranberries prevent S. mutans bacteria from sticking to teeth, thereby reducing the amount of cavities.

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Poor Oral Health Slowed Down 2012 Olympians

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

468230_30211180Winning the gold takes everything. Many Olympians spend decades training for their event to earn the chance to stand above the rest on the podium. While staying in top physical peak is a big priority, is oral health important? Based on the 2012 Olympics, having a healthy smile is a bigger factor than most realize.  

According to a new study led by Professor Ian Needleman at University College London Eastman Dental Institute, more than half of Olympians had poor oral health, and many found it inhibited their performance. Researchers recruited 302 athletes to the dental clinic in the London 2012 athletes’ village during the two-week international event. Those surveyed were from the Americas, Africa and Europe, and represented more than 25 different sports, including track, boxing and hockey. The results were pretty shocking.

Fifty-five percent of the athletes involved showed signs of tooth decay. Cavities, rotting and the beginning of caries were all evident. Of that demographic, 41 percent of the damage was irreversible. More than three-fourths of the individuals suffered from gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. The statistic is dramatically higher than people their same age – around 70 percent, based on the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

“Oral health is important for wellbeing and successful elite sporting performance,” explained Professor Needleman. “It is amazing that many professional athletes – people who dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to honing their physical abilities – do not have sufficient support for their oral health needs, even though this negatively impacts their training and performance.”

While almost one in five athletes said their training or performance was negatively impacted by oral health, nearly two-thirds said their poor dental care was affecting their quality of life.

It is clear that oral health and athletic performance are bound together. Gum disease and cavities often trigger pain and inflammation, which may reduce the quality of life and self-confidence of a competitor and therefore lower his or her ability to rise to the occasion. Stunningly, the researchers said that the dental hygiene of the world-class athletes resembled that of people living in disadvantaged populations. Nearly half of the 2012 London competitors said they hadn’t been to the dentist in more than a year.

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