Posts Tagged ‘nutrition for dental health’

I’m Returning to the Airwaves This Saturday

April 21, 2009

carolyn-collman-pics-004-1I’m making another appearance on the Dr. Smiles radio show, discussing nutrition and whole-body wellness this  Sat, April 25th  on KDOW radio 1220 AM  from 9-10am. The show will also be re-broadcast Sun, April 26th  from 9-10am. This week’s program will cover a potpourri of nutrition topics. If you miss the show, a podcast will be available next week.

Be Well,


Nutrition and Dental Health, Part II -Celiac Disease and Dental Abnormalities

February 25, 2009

In my last blog I discussed the importance of nutrition for dental health and how poor eating habits can harm your teeth. Certain conditions such as celiac disease can also negatively impact oral health -particularly when they go undiagnosed.

Celiac disease, which affects approximately 1% of the US population (or 1 in 133 persons) is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine caused by a reaction to gluten proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, other grains and many processed foods.  For those with the disease, ingesting gluten causes an inflammatory reaction that prevents efficient absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Dental defects are one of the many manifestations of celiac disease and a vigilant, knowledgeable dentist, can be key in discovering and diagnosing the disorder. 

Dental enamel defects are common among celiacs, particularly children, according to Alessio Fasano, M.D., medical director at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. In fact, according to Fasano,  dental enamel defects might be the only obvious manifestations of celiac disease. Here again, a dentist may be the critical factor in a patient receiving a correct diagnosis.

Dental enamel problems stemming from celiac disease include tooth discoloration — white, yellow, or brown spots on the teeth — poor enamel formation, pitting or banding of teeth, and mottled or translucent-looking teeth. 

Unfortunately, tooth defects resulting from celiac disease are permanent and do not improve once the patient adopts a gluten-free diet — the only available treatment for celiac disease. But dentists may use bonding, veneers, and other cosmetic solutions to cover enamel defects in older children and adults.

While dental enamel defects are the most common, other oral problems celiacs can encounter include: recurrent canker sores or ulcers  inside the mouth; atrophic glossitis, a condition characterized by a red, smooth, shiny tongue; dry mouth syndrome; squamous carcinoma of the pharynx and mouth; and delayed eruption of the teeth.

For more information on nutrition and dental health, listen to me on Sat, Feb 28th from 9-10am on KDOW 1220AM (broadcast from the San Francisco Bay Area) when I’ll be a guest on the Dr. Smiles radio program. For more information on nutrition for celiac disease, please visit my website at

Be Well,


Nutrition for Dental Health Part I

February 18, 2009

Your oral health is a reflection of your current health and health history. Like bones, teeth are “alive” and therefore need a constant supply of nutrients to keep them healthy and strong. Furthermore, a diet low in essential nutrients also compromises the immune system, making it more difficult to fight oral infections such as periodontitis, an aggressive bacterial infection.

Four important nutrients for dental health are: calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and Vitamin C . One study found that women and men with calcium intakes below 500mg per day were twice as likely to have periodontal disease. Teeth, like bones, are made up of calcium so a deficiency has direct impact on their strength and integrity. Vitamin D is also critical as it helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium is part of the delivery system that helps direct the calcium you consume into your teeth and bones.

Other research has found that people who consumed less than 60mg/day of Vitamin C  had three times the risk of developing gingivitis (the most mild form of periodontal disease) compared with those who consumed more than 180 mg per day. Vitamin C is important in developing and repairing connective tissue and researchers theorize that its antioxidant ability may also help prevent gingivitis.

The following are nutrition tips for keeping your teeth healthy and strong: 

• Don’t drink fruit juice or soda if you can’t brush your teeth afterwards. The high acid and sugar content in fruit juices and sodas can erode enamel. Eat a piece of fruit instead – you’ll also benefit from the fiber it provides – and drink a glass of water.

• Speaking of water – drink plenty of  it to prevent a dry mouth, which is a virtual petrie dish for bacteria. If you can’t brush after meals at least rinse your mouth.

• Drink milk,  one of the best, most convenient dental superfoods – a great source of both calcium and vitamin D. If you are lactose-intolerant, try Lactaid milk. 

• Eat cold water fish, flax seed, walnuts and other foods high in Omega-3s to reduce inflammation throughout the body (that includes the mouth!).

• Control your blood sugar – particularly if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Diabetics are already at a greater risk for periodontal disease.

For more information on nutrition and dental health, listen to me live on Sat, Feb 28th from 9-10am  (on KDOW radio, 1220 AM) in the San Francisco Bay Area when I will be a guest on the Dr. Smiles radio program.  

In my next blog – I’ll speak specifically about the potential dental challenges those with Celiac Disease face. Until then….

Be Well (and Smile!),