Plant and food derived anti cavity agents


Plant and food derived anti cavity agents

St. Lawrence Dentistry offers several modern ways of treating dental cavities. However it is, of course, better to try and prevent them in the first place. Food and drink modifications can help control the incidence of dental decay. Some foods prolong the teeth to exposure of acids and when you couple that with sugary carbonated beverages it is quite easy to develop dental decay.

Our eating and drinking habits have changed in a generation and this has given rise to a resurgence in dental decay. So called ‘energy drinks’ in the last generation were tea and coffee and they were usually served unsweetened. Today they have been largely replaced by carbonated soft drinks that sometimes come in 20 once containers. In the past 7 once bottles were the standard and they were only drank on special occasions. Food companies have steadily added the to the sugar amounts contained in many foodstuffs. Soda dispensing machines are everywhere, and advertising encouraging over consumption is prevalent. Many of these beverages are super caffeinated and low pH (high acidity). Alot of these drinks come with a ‘pop off lid’ container and contain 2-3 servings. However there is no way to reseal the containers which encourages drinking it all at once. Many people sip these sugar/caffeine beverages all day and hence have an increased incidence of dental decay. This is a major health challenge. St. Lawrence Dentistry encourages you to consider some of the more healthy choices below for your teeth.

Cheese has good anti cavity properties. It contains calcium and supports a rise in the oral pH level. It triggers salivary formation, and it hardens enamel. It is a wise food choice in many respects. Recaldent is a compound that has anti-cavity properties and is found in cheese. It is also called CPP-ACP (casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate). It has fantastic remineralization properties. The neat thing about CPP when bound to ACP is that at the pH 5.3, a dissociation occurs and immediately that ACP is available to be uptakes by the tooth (which strengthens it) and can neutralize acids in the mouth. This makes slowly chewing cheese and exposing it to your teeth a good choice in combating dental decay. Recaldent also comes in a product form known as ‘MI paste’ and is available at St. Lawrence Dentistry. However, if you are worried about the high cost of commercial Recaldent products an alternative is to gently rub cheese on your teeth.

Milk can help bring up pH levels and a study from the journal of the American Dental Association found that milk significantly reduced mouth acid levels even when the test person was consuming acidic breakfast foods such as the famous ‘fruit loops’.

Apple juice does not have any cavity prevention effect and is in fact acidic. However, an apple in and of itself, has much lower acidic content than the same volume of juice. And because of the chewing involved in eating, it stimulates saliva, This makes it a much healthier choice than the juice form.

Promising herbal cavity management products are the horizons known as ‘nutraceuticals’ (things that are nutritious but have a therapeutic impact). A good example of natural products with tremendous dental benefits are green and black tea. Teas actually reduce oral pathologies at the DNA level in soft tissues. The phenols in tea also offer cavity prevention by inhibiting bacteria. Green or black tea (if your not adding sugar or milk) are great anti cavity drinks to be enjoyed after a sweet snack. Tea is better for your teeth than coffee. The pH of coffee is relatively low and caffeine can dry out the saliva. Remineralisation of teeth cannot occur in a dry environment.

The old Chinese herb liquorice root have demonstrated substantial antimicrobial activity against the cavity causing bacteria ‘strep mutans’. Liquorice lollipops significantly reduce childhood cavities. The problem is children are not always fond of the taste of liquorice. The lollipop form is good because it stays in the mouth long enough to have action against the step mutans biofilm which causes cavities. If you just swish and swallow something it won’t be as effective.

Grape seed extract have ‘proanthocyanidins’ which are potent antioxidants and have anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They can stimulate the immune system and strengthens collagen. When cavities form in a tooth collagen strands get exposed and we need something to preserve the collagen. The extract will increase collagen crosslinks.

Another nutraceutical is contained in the fruit papaya. The contained enzyme ‘papaya proteinase’ is available in the form of papain gel. The gel can be applied to dental cavities which will help ‘chemo-mechanically’ remove dental decay.

Dry mouth disproportionately affects the elderly and contributes to root cavities. Aloe vera gel juice is a great mouth moisturizer and hence can protect against dental decay. It also has other benefits such as helping to alleviate joint pain. Ginger is another herbal ‘sialogogue’. Denture patients tend to be among the worst sufferers when it comes to dry mouth and alot of times they lost their teeth due to dry mouth in the first place. Prickly cactus extract is another promising natural product on the horizon which researchers are looking into for possible benefits for dry mouth.

St. Lawrence Dentistry’s goal is for our patients to keep their teeth for a lifetime. We hope these natural suggestions can be of use to you. If you are looking for a dentist in the Mississuaga area please give us a call.

Reference: Viva Learning: Dietary Considerations: Plant-derived & Food-derived Cariostatic Agents