poor oral health

Sneaky Culprits of a Silent Epidemic: Noodles and White Bread

July 19th, 2020

As we continue to fight what seems like a long and strenuous battle against COVID-19, our children are also combatting a more silent epidemic: Tooth decay. Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are one of the most common chronic diseases impacting children in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated cavity. For children aged 12 to 19 years old, approximately 1 of 7 (13%) have at least one untreated cavity. Sadly, without treatment, children may experience trouble speaking, chewing, learning, and enjoying everyday life. In fact, approximately two million missed days of school occur annually in the U.S. as a result of poor oral health problems among children.

A recent study, done by the University of Auckland and Starship Children’s Hospital in New Zealand, revealed that a higher frequency of consumption of simple carbohydrates, including white bread, rice, noodles, soft drinks, cake, and breakfast cereals, for instance, led to a greater risk of tooth decay. It can be surprising for many to think of these common, and delicious, food items as enemies of our oral health!

The study looked at the dental records and reported diet of 4000 children beginning at the age of two years old. The researchers found that foods such as whole wheat bread, vegetables, and cheese were associated with less tooth decay coupled with proper oral hygiene practices. Parental help with toothbrushing, brushing at least twice a day, and brushing after meals/snacks were linked with fewer dental cavities. On a positive note, researchers found that ¾ of the tested children had no dental cavities at their first dental appointment.

They also observed that ethnicity and socio-economic status played a role in the study. Children of Pacific ethnicity were four times at risk of having four or more cavities at their first dental appointment. On the other hand, Asian and Māori children were only twice as likely to have four or more cavities at their first appointment. As in the United States, many oral health disparities exist for individuals of many ethnic and racial groups, often pertaining to accessibility and affordability of healthcare.

The results of this study support the many other studies that have shown a strong link between diet and oral health. Other studies, such as one done in Cambodia, found that common diets made up of noodles and rice shared comparable results.

We all want to keep our child’s teeth bright and cavity-free. Luckily, cavities are 100% preventable. Prevention is key to helping children avoid invasive and costly treatments in the future! Tooth decay results when bacteria, a food source, and a host are coexisting together. The normal bacteria within the oral cavity feed off of carbohydrates and as a result produce damaging acids that breakdown the surfaces of teeth. It’s best to try to limit how often you and your children are consuming carbohydrates and processed sugars. When it’s time for your child’s snack time, offer tooth-friendly options like cheese, nuts, and carrots. Food consistency matters too! Sticky and chewy foods like fruit snacks tend to get stuck on and in-between teeth longer, increasing the risk for decay.

Certain treatments, such as fluoride varnish and dental sealants can help prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are applied to the pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent food from becoming trapped. Make sure that your child drinks fluoridated tap water and is brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.








Link Found Between Poor Oral Health and HPV

September 9th, 2013

There has been a recent studying showing a relationship between poor oral health and the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that has been shown to cause cancer of the cervix, mouth and throat. Cancer Prevention Research has been the first group to document this link. While this association has been made, it is still too early to say that flossing and brushing on a regular basis can prevent oral HPV infection.


Research done at the University of Texas health Science Center have looked over data on both low-risk and high-risk oral HPV infection and health in 3,439 adults between the ages of 30 and 69. The original study found that males who smoke cigarettes and having multiple oral sex partners have an increased risk of developing oral HPV infection. Researchers then controlled for smoking and the number of oral sex partners and found that self-rated poor oral health was an independent risk for this oral infection. It was shown that those with poor oral health were 56% more likely to contract the oral HPV infection, compared to those with fair oral health. It was also found that gum disease was linked to a 51% higher oral HPV risk and general dental problems were linked with a 28% increased prevalence of this infection. While there still has not been conclusive evidence revealing this, researcher believe that people who lack of good oral health, such as those suffering from ulcers, sores or lesions, and gum inflammation, give way to more openings in the mouth, providing more locations for HPV to enter.


Even though there is not enough evidence to decisively show the link between poor oral health and HPV, it never hurts to maintain good oral health. While more research needs to be done in this topic, there have been many more relationships shown, linking oral health to the body’s overall health. Good oral hygiene should become a lifestyle, a personal habit that individuals should hold up to. Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com










Poor Oral Health Can Impact School Performance

August 31st, 2012

A recent study that appeared in the September 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health shows a strong correlation between poor oral health and academic performance. The survey looked at 1,500 low income students in the Los Angeles area. School performance and attendance were compared to oral health.

According to the study,

"Children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average -- below the median GPA of 2.8 -- when compared to children without oral pain, according to study results."

This also contributed to missed school for students and also missed work for parents. On average, kids missed between 2 and 2.5 days of school. This is in part due to dental care not being easily accessible for a variety of reasons, such as insurance or transportation.

There is discussion of including more oral health education in schools. This is easy way to spread the message and importance of healthy teeth and gums for life!

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