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oral health



Energy Drinks May be Doing Permanent Damage to Your Teeth

Before you pick up that Red Bull, consider what it may do to your teeth first.

A new study published in General Dentistry showed that energy drinks can damage the enamel of your teeth, and possibly with irreversible effects as enamel doesn’t return once it’s gone. And it’s the citric acid  – most commonly found in citrus fruit juices – that’s doing most of the damage.

Citric acid is used in products like energy drinks to add a tart bite, and also to lengthen shelf life as it acts as a natural preservative.

The study was prompted by the statistic that an estimated 30-50% of teenagers are drinking energy drinks on a regular basis, meaning the primary concern is with kids. The most alarming part about damage done to tooth enamel is that it leaves the teeth prone to cavities and decay.

Lead author in the study, Poonam Jain, is an associate professor in the School of Dental Medicine at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Concerning the health risks sugar alone can pose, she said, “We are well aware of the damage that sugar does in the mouth and in the whole body – the role it can play in obesity, diabetes, etc. But the average consumer is not very well aware that acid does all kinds of damage, too.”
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Reduce Cravings with Tongue Scraping

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

There is a science behind food cravings, and I don’t use the word “science” lightly. It is an honest to goodness, white-lab-coat-Bunsen burner-protective-goggles science. Food “scientists” know exactly what it takes to create a food that is “crave-able.” They research and experiment and come up with specific addictive qualities or additives that food must contain in order to rank as a food that you will keep reaching for.

Salt, sugar, and fat, or chemical products that taste buds recognize as salt, sugar or fat, are key flavors that enhance a foods crave-ability.

When you eat, food residue or food particles can be left behind on your tongue. When those particles mix together with the bacteria in your mouth a coating or film is created. This coating “feeds” our craving mechanism. For instance, if you eat a fast food hamburger on a Monday, on Tuesday you may find yourself thinking about that burger again. This is not a sign of poor “willpower” or an “inability” to eat healthy food, rather it can literally be your tongue coating that is sending a signal to your brain that you want more of the food that has been left behind.

This is one of the key reasons fast food restaurants advertise to children. They know when a child “develops a taste” for their food at a young age they become life long customers.

Furthermore, when your diet is full of processed “food-like” products that are loaded with extra fat, sugar, and salt your taste buds suffer and become desensitized. Desensitized taste buds are greedy little buggers, requiring more and more food for you to feel satisfied, as satiety is signaled by flavor.

Enter the tongue scraper.
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Protect Your Teeth From Overindulgence

Have you ever thought about what holiday celebrations are doing to your teeth? Those concerned about staining are likely to avoid coffee and red wine, but there are apparently more dangers for your smile in celebrations.

Holiday celebrations often include sugar-filled indulgences such as desserts, candy, punch, and alcoholic drinks. Foods with sugar and starch (pies,  cookies, pastries, cake) can be especially hard on your smile. Together they energize s. mutans, a powerful bacteria that resides in your mouth, which will create a “superplaque” that is more acidic, stickier, and holds on harder than regular plaque build up from sweets alone. Sodas and carbonated beverages that may be added to punch concoctions include acids that can damage the enamel of your teeth.


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Raisin Awareness of Dental Health

california raisinsJoining us in March as the Featured Guest Blogger of the Month is California Raisins. They’ve got a team of nutrition professionals who want to ensure all of us are living as healthy as possible, providing information about healthy, natural snacks. See last week’s article about the benefits of Raisins and Walking.

We all know California Raisins are good for your diet and taste buds, but did you know they offer benefits for maintaining healthy choppers, too? A recent study conducted at the College of Dentistry, University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC), and published in the journal, Phytochemistry Letters, reveals raisins may benefit oral health. The fruit possesses antimicrobial phytochemicals that repress growth of some oral bacteria associated with dental cavities and gum disease!
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