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But She Brushes all the Time!

“But she brushes all the time!” I heard that twice this morning.

And I’m sure they do (well, not all the time, but you know what I mean). I bring up the effect sugar and a high carbohydrate diet has regardless of hygiene protocols, and I can see the “light bulb moment” for the parent.

I blogged about this recently, if you didn’t see it, look here. It just recently came to my attention that there’s a not-so-new research study from the Journal of Periodontology that Dr. Al Danenberg wrote about here, which has some startling findings.

To sum up Dr. Danenberg’s article, the referenced study found that when a diet that is absent of sugar and processed foods (a “Paleolithic” diet), and without study subjects brushing or flossing for 30 days, the participants saw scoring of their gum tissue get better. Furthermore, the bacterial “profile” in their mouths changed in type from more disease causing to less disease causing. Please read the article for some really good details, but it comes down to this: excess ingested carbohydrates have profound effects all over your body, not just causing cavities in your teeth.

I find this very interesting, especially as someone who discusses oral hygiene improvement upwards of 25 times a day. I just wish I had come across this information sooner so I could pass it along in the hopes of improving more of my Patient’s oral and overall health since 2009. (If you’re wondering, I only learned about and became a proponent of a “more Paleo diet” a couple of years ago and only became aware of its effects on the mouth other than dental cavities a couple of months ago.) This information isn’t mainstream in dentistry yet, but dental professionals like Dr. Danenberg and I are trying to change that.

Everyone’s on a “diet” whether it has a marketable name or not, and it’s a personal issue, I get it. I know a strict Paleo style diet can be a challenge and I like pizza, fries, and pasta just like everyone else. However, limiting them and when you do indulge and try to seek out the least processed options (homemade, from scratch) would be a good place to start.

And do the math on the sugary drinks: 12 g of sugar in the drink is a tablespoon, and many drinks have many multiples of that. Maybe measure it out and see if it changes your perspective and see if you feel better by cutting out so many carbohydrates. I’d look into the preponderance of evidence and you’re going to see some potentially significant positive changes in your body.