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A Vegan Diet and Your Dental Health

July 19th, 2018

A vegan or vegetarian diet is good for your health. However, if you’re not careful, it could cause your bones, including your teeth, to get weaker.

A study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians are much more likely to suffer from tooth decay, more acidic salivary (spit) pH levels, and lower stimulated saliva flow than non-vegetarians.

This study confirmed earlier research by Dr. Weston A. Price published in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. After a 10-year examination of isolated societies that were untouched by “the displacing foods of modern commerce,” he found that indigenous vegetarian cultures suffered tooth decay at a higher rate than omnivore or almost completely carnivore cultures.

Another study titled “Oral Implications of the Vegan Diet” assessed 15 subjects who had been on a vegan diet for at least 18 months and compared their oral health with 15 subjects who were on omnivorous diets. The results showed there was a greater incidence of demineralization in the teeth of the vegan group as compared to the omnivores. Saliva pH was also at a more preferable level among the omnivores.

Unfortunately, these early studies suggest vegans are much more likely to have poorer dental health than non-vegans.

But, why is that? What’s it that’s missing from vegan and vegetarian diets that is leading to this tooth decay?

The answer:  not getting enough vitamin D and calcium.

Vegan Sources of Vitamin D

 

Most Americans get vitamin D from the sun, fortified milk, and fortified margarine. Food sources for vitamin D include fatty fish (cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, sardines), eggs (if the chickens have been fed vitamin D), and mushrooms (if treated with UV rays). The vegan diet contains precious little of these.

For vegans looking for vitamin D from food, you’re probably going to need supplements, at least during the fall and winter. Check the labels carefully, as some of the ingredients in the supplements may be derived from animals: Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 from lichen are vegan-friendly.

Vegan Sources of Calcium

Dairy and fish are great ways to get calcium. If you’re not vegan. So what are your options if you are vegan?

Here’s a list of high-calcium vegan foods:

  • Calcium-fortified soy or nut milks
  • Tofu
  • Soybeans and soy nuts
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra

Article by Bryana Allen, Delta Dental of Washington

Morning Breath: What It Is and How to Treat It

July 11th, 2018

Aah. Morning breath. It’s the bane of everyone's existence as they roll over to wish their partners a “Good Morning.”

So, let’s explore what it is, what causes it, and how we can treat it.

What is Morning Breath?

It’s simply bad breath that you have when you wake in the morning. It may be bad, but not to the halitosis level.

Halitosis is chronic bad breath that can’t be taken care of by a handful of breath mints or a few minutes of gargling with mouthwash. It hangs out for an extended period of time, and may be a symptom of a larger problem.

Morning breath is not halitosis.

What Causes Morning Breath?

Morning breath is the result of the natural biome of our mouths (bacteria) and our lifestyle.

Everyone’s mouth contains a unique combination of good and bad bacteria. These bacteria live in our mouths. That means they’re born, eat, produce waste, reproduce, and die in our mouths. And they produce smells throughout their lifecycles. Yes. It’s kind of gross to think about, but we couldn’t really live without them.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to morning breath include:

  • Food. Leftover particles in your mouth are contributors. Certain types of food can cause bad breath. For example, garlic, onions, and spices enter your bloodstream once they’ve been digested. Then they’re carried to your lungs where they can have an adverse effect on breath, especially if you eat right before bedtime. However, not flossing before bed can also leave food particles in our mouths while we sleep. Flossing cleans 40 percent of tooth surfaces your brush cant’ reach. So, if you’re only brushing before bed, you’re only cleaning 60 percent of your teeth.
  • Dry Mouth. Think of saliva (spit) as your mouth’s natural cleanser. It helps break down bacteria and wash away remaining food particles after you eat. When you have dry mouth, your saliva production is decreased. Saliva production naturally decreases as we sleep. Combine this with leftover food particles and you have a recipe for morning breath.
  • Poor Oral Care. Proper brushing and flossing removes food particles from the spaces between your teeth. If you don’t do those, the particles remain, putting you at risk for regular bouts of morning breath (as well as gum disease).
  • Tobacco. Smoker’s breath is a very real side effect of tobacco use. Cigarettes, in particular, leave smoke particles in your throat and lungs. Chemicals in tobacco can also linger in the mouth for hours after use. Tobacco use also makes people more prone to gum disease which can also cause bad breath.
  • Medications. Certain medications may cause dry mouth. Others are broken down by the body, and may release foul chemicals onto your breath.
  • Mouth Breathing. Breathing through your mouth contributes to dry mouth. But, how do you know if you’re mouth breathing while you sleep? Odds are if you mouth breathe during the day, you probably mouth breathe when you sleep. Also, waking up with a dry mouth or irritated throat are also indicators of mouth breathing.

 

Is Morning Breath Normal?

Yes. Everyone gets it from time to time.

How Do You Treat Morning Breath?

The reality is there’s only so much you can do. Morning breath is normal. So, you may not be able to completely prevent it from making an appearance.

Here are some things to try that can help reduce its effects and take care of it when it does appear:

  • Brush for 2 Minutes. Do it before bed and as soon as you wake up. This will eliminate any left-behind particles contributing to bad breath.
  • Floss before Bed. Flossing cleans the 40 percent of tooth surfaces your brush can’t reach. Flossing before bed helps remove plaque and food particles your teeth accumulate during the day.
  • Rinse with Mouthwash. If you want to eat breakfast before brushing, give your mouth a quick rinse. This will freshen your mouth as well as fight plaque.
  • Chew Sugar-free Gum. Keep a mint-flavored pack in your nightstand for whenever your breath needs a quick refresher. Chewing helps generate necessary saliva and the mint provides a pleasant aftertaste.
  • Go Green. Chomp some fresh parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro for their chlorophyll that neutralizes odors. You can also try cloves, fennel seeds, or anise for their antiseptic qualities.
  • Drink Water. Keep a water bottle next to your bad for small swigs if your mouth gets dry or you get thirsty in the middle of the night.

And keep up those regular dental visits. Your dentist can offer up suggestions for any bad morning breath issues. They can also check to see if the bad breath you’re experiencing is normal or a symptom of a bigger issue.

Article by Bryana Allen, Delta Dental of Washington

Dentistry around the World

May 30th, 2018

From the clinical perspective, dentistry is similar around the world. Dentists, like Dr. Jerome R. Baruffi and Dr. Austin J. Baruffi, go to school, obtain a license, and work hard to prevent and treat tooth decay, gum disease, oral infections, throat or oral cancer, tooth loss, and other conditions that might limit a person’s ability to smile, bite, chew, or speak. The quality of dental care, however, and the payment method for dental services varies between nations.

Dentistry throughout the World

Developed countries have more dentists per capita than do developing nations, according to the World Health Organization. There is one dentist for every 150,000 people in Africa, for example, as compared to about one dentist for every 2,000 citizens of an industrialized nation. The lack of dentists in developing nations means that dental care is restricted to pain management and emergency care.

Dentistry often reflects the cultural views of a nation. Some cultures acknowledge only the functional aspect of teeth, so dentists focus on preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Other cultures emphasize aesthetic appearances, so dentists there provide cosmetic procedures in addition to essential oral care.

Each nation imposes its own education and licensure requirements for dentists but most require some college before four years of dental school. The graduate must then pass local or national exams to practice in that region. European schools and standards are similar to the United States.

From the business perspective, dentistry varies between nations. In the United States, a dentist presents to the patient one bill that includes all of the treatment costs, such as the dentist, his assistant, tools, and labs. This allows the dentist to charge a single, easy-to-pay fee for individual procedures, and gives him an opportunity to mark up items and make a profit.

Across much of Europe, a dentist presents two bills to her patient – one for the dentist and another for the lab. This approach may stem from a cultural belief that profiting from healthcare is unethical and that healthcare should be available to consumers at actual cost; public dental clinics and subsidies ensures all citizens have access to dental care, regardless of ability to pay. In most cases, the government is both overseer and provider of dental care.

While the role of the dentist is nearly the same in every country – to ensure the oral health of the citizens – dental care is different in each nation. Regardless, you can rest assured that the care you receive at our Tukwila, WA office is held to the highest standard.

Suffer from tooth discoloration? Don’t panic!

May 23rd, 2018

Like many other parts of the human body, teeth age. You may look at old photos and realize your smile was significantly brighter in the past than it is now. Many adults experience tooth discoloration and find it embarrassing.

The good news is there are treatment options! The first step to recovering your bright smile and finding appropriate treatment is to determine what’s causing the discoloration.

There are multiple reasons for tooth discoloration. Some are under your control, but unfortunately, others may not be. Glance at the list below and see if you can pinpoint the cause of your tooth discoloration.

  • Poor Dental Hygiene: This one is obvious. There’s a reason your parents (and dentist) always told you to brush and floss three times a day.
  • Genetics: A big part of your dental health is determined by genetics; in other words, what runs in your family. Sometimes people inherit naturally discolored teeth.
  • Diet: Do you eat sugary foods often? Drink lots of soda? Gulp more than two cups of coffee a day? Are you an energy drink fan? We’re not pointing any fingers ... but you should do the math.
  • Tobacco: Because cigarettes contain nicotine, they can readily stain your teeth. So hardcore smokers often develop prominent brown stains.
  • Medications: Medicines such as doxycycline, tetracycline, antihistamines, blood-pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can all create tooth discoloration as a side effect. (If you suspect this could be the case for you, don’t ever discontinue your medication without consulting your doctor first!)

Did you find the culprit? Perhaps the easiest way to avoid tooth discoloration in your case might be to make some simple adjustments to your diet and other habits.

Also, when you consume drinks or foods that are high in acid or sugar content, take a moment to rinse your mouth with water afterward. If you’re an avid tobacco user, you may want to reconsider that; especially because it can have deadly effects that go way beyond your smile.

Dr. Jerome R. Baruffi and Dr. Austin J. Baruffi can also suggest other treatment options. While over-the-counter agents do help, in-office whitening treatments tend to be more effective. If whitening agents don’t alleviate the problem, you may want to consider bondings or veneers.

If you’re worried about discoloration of your teeth, or have any questions about how to treat it, please feel free to reach out to our Tukwila, WA office! We can help you identify what may be causing the problem and work with you to give you a smile you’ll be proud of.

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