The general definition of sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which encompasses glucose, sucrose, fructose and lactose, to name a few. When the majority of people use the term sugar, most often they are referring to sucrose or table sugar. Studies have shown that frequent consumption of sucrose increases the risk for developing tooth decay. People often question the effects other forms of sugar, such as honey or fructose found in fruits. The sugar found in these foods is predominantly fructose and while this is still fermentable by bacteria, it is a non-processed carbohydrate and is therefore less susceptible to bacterial digestion. Sucrose, however, is byproduct chemical that is easily digested by the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, most of the foods that contain large amounts of sucrose are generally sticky, and easily get stuck on and between the teeth, providing plenty of food for the oral bacteria to grow and wreak havoc. The obvious sources of sucrose are candy and soda, but sucrose can be found in almost any food that has undergone processing, which is why it is so important to pay attention to food labels and ingredient lists when grocery shopping. Of course, the easiest way to avoid food loaded with sucrose is to choose whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and unprocessed grains and legumes. For more questions about avoiding sucrose, ask our registered dietitian, Nasira: email@example.com.
Our blog series, the Deadly Dental Sins, begins here with #1: Not Flossing Daily.
This may seem pretty obvious, but reports show that only about 30% of the adult population are daily flossers. When you don’t floss, you are making it very easy for bacteria and food to collect between the teeth and gums, in places where the toothbrush has never seen. Because the bristles of the toothbrush cannot clean between the teeth and the gums, not flossing is like going to the bathroom, wiping your cheeks and missing the crack! Now imagine doing this for years…yuck! The bacteria that live in our mouths love to live in hard-to-reach places and wreak havoc on the tissues. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to floss every day before bedtime.
It’s also important to note that most people who do floss are doing so incorrectly. You want to take the floss and go down between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance, wrap the the floss tightly against the tooth and scrub the floss up-to-down with consistent motion, at least four times per tooth. I prefer the floss that comes on a spool rather than floss holders, due to superior cleaning capabilities, but any flossing product that best suits a patient’s preference is always better than no floss at all!
Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that exist in our gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics promote, or feed the bacterial colonies and work synergistically with probiotics. In other words, prebiotics nourish and maintain probiotics, which restores and can improve gut health. Probiotic sources include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Some good sources of prebiotics are bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods. Products that combine both together are called synbiotics. For best results, try combining both in your usual diet by enjoying bananas atop yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh.
Are probiotic supplements needed? Probably not. By consuming regular food sources of probiotics, you can maintain the integrity of your gut and avoid disrupting your body's natural microbiome. At a minimum, prebiotics and probiotics are keys for good gut health. Research indicates that the gut bacterial environment is important for more than just digestive health.
Incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as foods containing prebiotics and probiotics contributes to a healthier you!
For more advice on obtaining prebiotics and probiotics for your own specific health needs, especially if you have GI issues or a weakened immune system, our registered dietitian, Nasira, is here to help. Contact her today!
(425) 445-3914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn vegetarian dish to try:
Butternut Squash Apple Soup
Yields 4 servings; per serving 133 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g protein,
24 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 850 mg sodium
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup yellow onion (about 1 medium onion), cubed
1 large apple, cubed and core removed
1 large red, yellow, or sweet potato, cubed
1 cup carrots, chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large sage leaves
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk