Gina Liggio Maestri, DDS

Dental Blog

Non-Dairy Calcium Rich Foods

Hannah Johnson - Thursday, August 22, 2019

We’ve all been given the advice, “Drink your milk and you’ll have strong bones.” But what we’re not often told is where to get our calcium from if we’re allergic to milk, if we don’t drink milk, or if we prefer to drink alternative sources of cow’s milk. Calcium is an important mineral that the body needs to strengthen teeth and bones. It works to help your teeth remain resistant to disease and decay, and can help prevent tooth loss. Calcium also works to help blood vessels and muscles function properly.

With a rise in vegan culture, many people wonder where they can get their fair share of calcium.
Here are our top 5 favorite dairy-free sources of calcium:
  1. Chia seeds - Chia seeds go great in smoothies or on top of smoothie bowls. Being so versatile, they can practically top anything such as almond butter toast or fresh fruit.
  2. Edamame - Our favorite appetizer before a plateful of sushi, edamame contains 98 mg of calcium per cup. Edamame also goes great in salads, rice dishes, or just by itself.
  3. Kale - Kale is a great way to get more calcium. Kale works great in salads, on sandwiches, in wraps, and even in smoothies! A smoothie with banana will hide the taste of the kale, but still give you the good source of calcium that you desire.
  4. Sweet potatoes - There’s no better restaurant side than a cup of mashed sweet potato. And while being high in nutrition, sweet potatoes are also high in calcium, offering 68 mg (per large sweet potato).
  5. Almonds - Almonds are a delicious source of protein, fiber, and calcium. Almonds tend to be higher in calories so a smaller portion is recommended. A fun way to get your almond fix is by making your own trail mix or granola bars. There are tons of recipes online that are easy and quick to follow.

The list doesn’t stop there! Other calcium sources include soy milk, dried figs, tofu, and even sunflower seeds. If you’re not a big fan of cow’s milk, be sure to pick up these alternative sources of calcium in order to keep your teeth extra strong!

Chewing Gum: Sugar-free Edition

Hannah Johnson - Thursday, August 08, 2019

Chewing gum offers many benefits related to tooth and mouth care, but has also been shown to improve memory, reduce stress & anxiety, and help with weight loss. When choosing a pack of gum to chew on throughout the day, it’s extremely beneficial to choose one that is sugar-free and contains Xylitol.

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that you can find in fibrous plants, fruits, and vegetables. Xylitol offers many positive benefits and overall healthy effects for teeth such as preventing cavities and strengthening enamel.
How does one get their fair share of Xylitol?
Xylitol is found in some toothpastes and mouthwash, but it is most commonly found in sugar-free chewing gums! A quick Google search can let you know which gums contain Xylitol, but some of our favorites are Trident and Orbit.

So what exactly does Xylitol do?
Xylitol decreases the amount of plaque formed after eating and limits the amount of bacteria that adhere to teeth. As we eat, the sugars in our food & drink, as well as bacteria, cause acid production. Because your teeth are more at risk of an acid attack after a meal, chewing gum helps the mouth produce more saliva, which is the natural defense against acid. If you’re stuck at the office or out running errands, it may be hard to brush your teeth after a meal. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can help protect your teeth and gums because the saliva washes away foods and neutralizes acids. Don’t look at chewing gum as the alternative to brushing teeth, however. You still should brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and don’t forget to floss!

Why is it helpful to chew sugar-free gum after a meal?
According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. Not only does sugar-free gum aid in preventing cavities and all around keeping your teeth clean, but it has also been shown to reduce tooth sensitivity! If that’s not enough reason to chew sugar-free gum, it’s also a great way to freshen your breath!

Can I still chew sugar-free gum if I have braces?
The short answer is yes! Just make sure the gum is sugar free and make sure to check the American Dental Association’s approved list of sugar-free gum. Also, consult your dentist or orthodontist before chewing gum, just to be safe!
While it’s always good to treat yourself to dessert after a meal every now and then, reaching for a pack of your favorite sugar free gum may be the better option!

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