Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Looking After Our Precious Teeth!

Today has been a big day for my little family; our 6 year old son had a big tooth removed as it has severe decay. He was extremely brave, bless him and has bounced back fantastically. Don't worry I won't show you his tooth!

We have always prided ourselves on having a healthy, balanced and freshly prepared diet, with the odd treat here and there. So you can imagine we were absolutely mortified when we were told it and the opposite one would have to be removed and that if he was an adult it would require a root canal!!

After chatting to the dentist we were relieved to discover the cause of the decay wasn't through negligence (we were told he has fantastic oral hygiene - phew!!) In fact her daughter had a very similar problem with the same teeth; we then discovered both of our children were raised mainly on Soya Milk and she is convinced that caused the decay.

Once I had stopped breast feeding, he was prescribed a special Hydrolysed formula (partly digested whey proteins) by our GP, as his lil tummy couldn't tolerate the large milk proteins in cow's milk. We then moved him on to mainly Soya Milk, ensuring it was non GM and organic. As the unsweetened variety tastes like cardboard, we decided to opt for the one sweetened with apple juice. He also had a very slow weaning process (nearly 2 years) as his digestive system was so sensitive. He was renowned for being a pained baby.

I'm not berating Soya Milk in any way, but it appears to be the acid in the apple juice that sweetens it that has contributed to the decay, together watered down apple juice (he didn't like water) and healthy snacks; such as raisins and dried fruit bars - which we now understand their sticky texture tends to grip to the teeth! You can't win can you?!? These are great things to give your child and a much better option than sweeties, but following the tips given at the end will help you decide the right time to give them.

Interestingly when we spoke to our family Acupuncturist, he asked which teeth were decayed, when I said the 2nd back bottom teeth on either side, he said "Ah that makes sense, these point to the stomach meridian (energy pathways) and the digestive system" - fascinating!

Links between the teeth and the body.

So What Causes Tooth Decay? 
Your mouth is full of bacteria; this combined with small food particles and saliva form a sticky film - plaque, which builds up on your teeth. When you have food and drink high in carbohydrates (sugary or starchy), the bacteria in the plaque turn the carbohydrates into the energy they need and produce acid. And over time, the acid in the plaque starts to break down the surface of your tooth.

Why not change your cane sugar to tooth kind Xylitol like we have? I've written an article about the benefits of this tasty, healthy, natural sugar: Delicious, Healthy and Tooth Friendly Carrot Cake - Yes Really!

Here are some simple tips we've gathered from dentists and my favourite nutritionist, dietician and chef Jane Clarke, to give your whole families toothy pegs the best chance of a long healthy life!

Image via LOC
  1. Sweet foods aren't just foods containing sugar; they also include fruit, fruit juices, smoothies, sucrose, glucose, honey, maple syrup and starchy foods which convert to sugar (carbohydrates). 
  2. 'No added sugar' doesn't mean it doesn't mean its sugar free!
  3. Brush teeth before breakfast if having fruit or fruit juice OR wait one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing.
  4. When brushing spit out the toothpaste, do not rinse out with water; this will wash away the fluoride coating that protects your teeth throughout the day.
  5. Use a straw when drinking acidic drinks to reduce contact with teeth. We let our son choose his own straws to make it more fun.
  6. Drink water between meals instead of juice and fizzy drinks 
  7. Diet drinks aren't any better as they, as well as the 'full fat' versions contain acids, which have been said to draw calcium from our bones. Sugar and acid combined give the teeth a double hit.
  8. Chew sugar-free gum for 10 minutes after meals, this will produce more saliva to help neutralise the acid in the mouth. We use Orbit Complete® with Xylitol.
  9. Finish a meal with cheese or milk to help neutralise any acids.
  10. Avoid giving food an hour before going to bed as you don't produce as much saliva when you are asleep.
  11. Avoid snacking between meals, this limits the times the teeth are under attack from acids.
  12. If having sweet treats, juice or fizzy drinks, give them with a meal rather than on their own.
Life would be Très Boring if we didn't have the occasional treat, everything in moderation I say. So these little toothy treats are dedicated to our gorgeous brave boy, who has a major sweet tooth (like his mum LOL)!

These were made a dental student Erica Sweet Tooth who has a passion for baking! Don't worry she's not trying to give us all cavities, like me she just believes in everything in moderation.

These were made for a Dental Practice grand opening by Sweet Simplicity Confections

Image via Azucar Con Amor

Cake for her dentist by Jocelyn Cakes


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