This week Dr. Odiatu discusses the healthy food paradox. How can food that is good for our body be bad for the mouth? Dr. Odiatu tells us why and how we can have those conversations with patients
Dr. Odiatu is a practicing dentist, certified trainer, author, speaker, and repeat AToTH guest. He always brings us content that we can use to make us and our patients happy and healthy. Be sure to check out the many episodes with Dr. Uche and head over to our YouTube channel and watch the videos Dr. Uche and Michelle did to help you stretch and take care of your body!
Book: The Miracle of Health
For your viewing pleasure this TIPisode has been transcribed:
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: Quick and easy tips to keep you up to date, and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Uche Odiatu: The healthy food paradox. Uche Odiatu. Druche.com. Author of The Miracle of Health. Just some information for you to share with patients because so many patients are confused about foods that are bad for the body are also bad for the mouth, but foods that are good for the body, how could they be bad for the mouth? The point is at dietary acids.
So some of the readings of the lectures I’ve done over the last 10 years has focused on healthy food. Now, food in the body can be incredible source of supporting your bodies against having disease. But there are some paradoxes, and the main one is dietary acids, so some of the foods and drinks that soften the enamel anywhere from one to three microns after eating. One to three microns doesn’t sound like much, but one to three microns enamel that’s softened and then brushed away daily — three microns a day over a year can actually add up to one millimeter of enamel loss over a year if someone is brushing hard after.
So let’s look at some foods that patients are getting confused about, some of the fasting and cleansing beverages. Apple cider vinegar, which is great for the body. It’s a fermented food. The gut flora love fermented foods. Yogurt with any kind of fruit inside it. Fruit also is an acid and that could also soften the enamel anywhere from one to three microns. And if anything is [indiscernible 00:01:46] patients, they always think, “How could it be so bad for my enamel and how can my enamel be soft after doing something like apple cider vinegar or like lemon juice?” And I said, “Hey, lemon might be great for the GI to get going in the morning, but there’s a smart way to eat it so you don’t soften your enamel.”
And they’re thinking, “What’s so bad about it?” Well, one of the immediate things for patients is dentin hypersensitivity, which needs to get diagnosed. You got to make sure it’s not from a cavity; it’s not from a cracked tooth. But when it comes down to dentin hypersensitivity, it gets patient’s attention. So let patients know things like, “If you’re going to drink lemon squeezed in water, which is great for the GI first thing in the morning, I want you to do it with a straw, and I want you to dilute it in a glass of water so it’s not so concentrated. Same thing with apple cider vinegar.”
Also things like tea, which is great for you. EGCG. Epigallocatechin gallate, which is great for encouraging apoptosis and helping the body be healthy. However, tea also — tannic acid — it can be a challenge to the body. And then it’s how you drink it. Some people are tea swishers. They actually take the tea in their mouth and they squirt it between their teeth and they do all kinds of interesting personal unique things. But again, softening the enamel.
And often, these things are had at breakfast time. Think about it. Lemon water, apple cider vinegar, tea, dietary fruits. Fruit is totally paradoxical. I think a lot of North Americans still don’t get it. In the global burden of disease, it actually showed — this is a huge study done over several years with 488 researchers from 50 countries and 300 institutions that showed that fruit is a very modifiable risk factor in terms of the less fruit you eat the less healthy you are. So fruit gets a bad reputation. However, most of us know that fruit is good for you. Lots of polyphenols, antioxidants, and resveratrol, and things like that.
However, again, fruit is often eaten in the morning. So blueberries, oranges, pineapple. These are whole foods — the juice is a whole other ball game, and we’ll talk about that on a different TIPisode — but dietary fruit eaten in the morning, I tell my patients again, “Great for the body. However, if you go brush your teeth right after, your enamel is softened.” And people don’t understand what one to three microns is, but I say, “Your enamel is softened, the outer layer is softened, and I do not want you to brush it away.” So my solution for most patients and what I tell patients in general, “If you’re going to eat healthy foods and you don’t know if they’re dietary acids or not, you just refrain form brushing your teeth anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes after. Refrain from brushing your teeth 30 to 60 minutes. Fruit juices, drink with a straw. Dilute it so it’s less acidic.”
And also, there’s lot of toothpastes like Pronamel toothpaste through GlaxoSmithKline with their potassium nitrate. And there’s arginine in some of these other toothpastes. Whole other TIPisode, but that’s the healthy food paradox. People don’t realize that some of the foods that are great for the body aren’t so good for the teeth. You got to be smart in how you drink and eat them.
Uche Odiatu. Druche.com. Over and out.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.