Does breastfeeding cause cavities?

file0001519843631It’s no secret that breastmilk is fantastic for your baby’s health…and for your wallet. But does prolonged breastfeeding increase your child’s risk for developing cavities? Yes. And no. Let me explain.

Many research studies have been done to try to get to the bottom of this question, a task that has been very difficult due to the amount of external uncontrollable factors in such a study. I mean, think of all the other foods that children are consuming. Now add to that the variation in frequency of feeding, different brushing habits, and a seemingly endless list of variable factors, and you’ve got a real puzzle on your hands.

But the research appears to be coming together, and we’ve got an answer for you. In order for cavities to form, 4 things need to be present:

  • Tooth
  • Sugar
  • Bacteria
  • Time

Understanding this list is the key to understanding the role that breastmilk plays in the development of cavities. It is known that breastmilk contains a significant amount of sugar, in the form of lactose. However, it is important to note that the presence of sugar alone cannot cause cavities. In fact, it is the bacteria that are already present in the mouth that do the real damage. These bacteria specialize in fermenting the sugar that gets trapped in our mouth. Once fermented, the product becomes very acidic. If given enough time, that acid slowly eats away our tooth structure, causing cavities.

So yes, breastmilk contains sugar, which contributes to the formation of cavities. But if you aren’t breastfeeding, your kids will get the same sugar from other nutritional sources, right? Not exactly. You see, recent studies have found that the lactose sugar found in breastmilk, when combined with sucrose sugar found in snacks and drinks we give our kids, creates a synergistic effect. In other words, lactose sugar is bad for your teeth. So is sucrose sugar.¬†When you combine the two sugars, the risk for developing cavities increases exponentially. Not only that, they will also develop in only 3 weeks.

What’s the best course of action then? Should you give up the health benefits of breastfeeding early, to avoid combining these tricky little sugars, or should you risk your child’s oral health and keep the breast milk flowing? While we can’t make that decision for you, we can give you a few tips:

  • Keep your¬†child’s mouth CLEAN – Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, there are sugars getting stuck all up in their oral cavity. Make sure that you are brushing, flossing, and rinsing your child’s teeth as much as possible.
  • Do not feed your child late at night – Late night feedings provide for one of the four elements of cavities. TIME. Make sure to be brushing their teeth at night, and do not let them eat anything after bedtime brushing.
  • Water fixes everything – As you’ve probably noticed, all of our tips have to do with keeping the mouth clean. Water does an amazing job at this. The sooner you get the sugar out of their mouth, the easier it is to remove, and the less TIME it has to cause problems.
  • Avoid sugar when possible – Now I don’t want to be a life-ruining anti-sugar Nazi, but I will say that the less sugar you consume, the better off your teeth will be. If you’re like me and you must consume some sugar, just be sure to clear it out of there when you’re finished.

The bottom line is, whether or not you are breastfeeding, your child is at risk for cavities. The trick is to avoid providing the necessary ingredients for cavity formation: Sugar, Bacteria, and Time.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me:

Jake The Dentist;

Everything you need to know about cosmetic dentistry

Only about 50 percent of Americans are happy with the way their smile looks. Our culture is very aware and self-conscious about the way our smiles look. That is why so many people are turning to cosmetic dentistry in an attempt to become more satisfied with their smile. But the effects of cosmetic dentistry often extend beyond just the aesthetic reasons.

For example, someone who has crooked teeth might want braces to straighten them out. While the patient does benefit from a more aesthetically pleasing smile, their straighter teeth also make it easier to brush and maintain oral health.

A patient may also become more confident through cosmetic dentistry, leading to an improvement in emotional health as well.

As you can see, there are definitely some solid perks in receiving cosmetic dentistry. However, one must be very cautious of getting “up-sold”. A dental professional may get excited with a patient who wants to “improve their smile”. He might tell them all sorts of things that they really don’t need. If you are considering any sort of cosmetic work, it is important to research the costs and benefits of procedures, and even more important to know exactly what you would like to improve. That way, the dentist can focus on your individual needs instead of throwing the whole book at you.

A few questions you should be ready to ask your dentist are:

  • What are the risks and benefits of this procedure?
  • Is this procedure strictly for cosmetic purposes?
  • Do you believe I need this procedure? Why/Why not?

If any of the answers make you uncomfortable at all, do more research, and get more opinions from other oral health care professionals.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!
Jake The Dentist;

Study shows link between poor oral health, and poor family life


Researchers in New York recently discovered that children who have a high prevalence of cavities and oral decay, also tend to have more issues tied to their family such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The study theorized that these types of abuse have the tendency to distract everyone in the home from their routines, decreasing the time spent brushing flossing, and rinsing. Further, an aggressive environment is often linked to a weaker immune system, meaning that the body is not fighting off the bacteria in the oral cavity as well is it otherwise could.

The author of the study, Michael Lorber, explained that many similar findings have been discovered in the past, so it didn’t come as a huge surprise. However, Lorber explained that there was an astonishing consistency between the number of abusive encounters and the number of lesions or cavities in the teeth.

A study done back in 2005 suggested that 90 percent of families had some form of either parent to child aggression, or parent to partner aggression. When you see the correlation between aggression and oral health, it’s no wonder that so many people must have dental work done.

The study also found that for every significant increase above the average in aggressive encounters with their partner, the number of caries went up an average of 3.5 for women, and 5.3 for men. Children’s caries increased an average of 1.9 for every aggressive encounter between their parents.

It is important to note that this study does not prove that aggressive behavior will always lead to poor oral health. But it certainly appears to indicate that.

Dentists are in a position where they can really make a difference for their patients. This study shows the broad spectrum that oral health covers. You can find out a whole lot about a person simply by examining their oral cavity. The authors of the study hope that this will put in people’s minds a greater focus on the importance of oral health.

Jake The Dentist;

Cure for bad breath discovered by teen in Nigeria


Bad breath, also known as halitosis, decreases the quality of life for millions of people every year. For some, it is only occasional, while others have to deal with this every day of their lives.

The effects of bad breath span from missed job opportunities to impacted relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, which is why two students in Nigeria are looking to kick halitosis out the door forever.

One of the students, Eveshorhema Sophia, awoke one morning to find that her mouth felt fresh, though she had not yet brushed her teeth. She recalled eating walnuts just before bed the night before, and decided that she needed to experiment with them. Together with friend, Ibukunoluwa Ruth Oladeinde, she began to compile an experiment testing the effects of the African Walnut on bad breath.

The African Walnut is already known to have anti-carcinogenic effects (fights cancer) as well as many other benefits including anti-oxidants, weight control, brain health, and diabetes care.

Determined to find out if the African Walnut also improves your breath, the girls began concocting their experiment. They took a group of 35 volunteers, and tested their Hydrogen Sulfide levels (The compound responsible for bad breath) before beginning the experiment.

During the experiment, the subjects were not allowed to brush their teeth. They only ate African Walnuts. Their Hydrogen Sulfide levels were again tested, and were found to be significantly lower. The girls suspect that the presence of alkaloids, oleic acid, and tannins in the African Walnut are the reason that this nut has such a positive effect on halitosis.

The girls won $1000 life science award, along with the satisfaction of discovering something that could significantly improve millions of lives.

Jake The Dentist;

10 Tips That Will Improve Your Child’s Oral Health!

Wedding congratulation

1 – Start using Fluoride as soon as their first tooth comes in. If you have questions about this, consult your dentist.

2 – Take your child to the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth erupting. Early care is the key to a healthy mouth.

3 – Teach them to brush their teeth, let them do it, and then do it again for them to make sure they do a good job. Find a way to make it fun for them.

4 – Make flossing a habit early on. We all know that flossing is a habit that many of us struggle with. The earlier your get them started on it, the more likely they are to get addicted!

5 – If you are letting them have sugary snacks, give them to your kids at mealtime. The extra saliva produced during meal time speeds up the process of getting the acid-causing sugar out of their mouths.

6 – Remember, Fluoride is the greatest protection to your child’s teeth, and sugary snacks are the greatest threat.

7 – Before teeth come in, use a washcloth on your baby’s gums after feedings.

8 – Even though your child’s teeth will fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, countless studies have shown that the better you take care of the baby teeth, the more likely the permanent teeth will be healthy.

9 – If your child has consistent sucking habits, talk to your dentist about how to take care of those.

10 – NEVER put your child to bed with a bottle, unless it only has water.

Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Jake The Dentist;

The Right Way To Eat Sugar


It is a well-known fact that sugar consumption is very closely related to prevalence of cavities in the dentition. Despite this knowledge, the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar every year! That number climbs to 300 pounds per year with teens who are consuming vast amounts of soft drinks every day.

But I’m not here to tell you to stop consuming sugar. I’m not that heartless. What I will tell you is that it is not the amount of sugar you consume that controls your oral health. It is the amount of time you spend with sugar in your mouth. What this means is that as far as your teeth are concerned, you can eat all the sugar you want, but you should do it in one sitting.

When sugar comes in contact with your mouth, the bacteria in your mouth convert that sugar to an acid, which then lowers the pH in your mouth. It is this drop in pH that causes a breakdown in tooth structure, also known as tooth decay or cavities. This all can happen within 5 minutes of consuming sugar, and it can take up to an hour for the pH in your mouth to return to normal levels.

What that means is if you are eating sugar multiple times a day, then your mouth is constantly acidic and the bacteria found in your mouth are literally destroying your teeth every minute of the day. They can only do this when they have sugar to breakdown.

You can help speed up the recovery process by brushing your teeth and/or rinsing out your mouth after sugar consumption or meals. This helps eliminate the sugar and acids in your mouth, making it easier for your salivary glands to bring the pH back to a healthy level. Making water your drink of choice will also make a huge difference in your oral health. There’s no sugar in water so the bacteria will have nothing to feed off of.

If you are a gum chewer, try to find a xylitol based gum, which will strengthen your teeth instead of weakening them. I prefer Ice Cubes

If you’re hoping for good results at your next dental visit, try these tips out. They really will make a difference. Feel free to email me with any questions or more tips!

Jake The Dentist:

New treats promise healthier teeth


Two new products have been released to aid in the fight against tooth decay. These products, however, are a bit counterintuitive. Loloz, a new lollipop which is created with special herbs designed to kill the bacteria found in the oral cavity. And Xylitol hard candies. These candies first stimulate saliva production, and then fight the oral bacteria, much like Loloz.

Healthy Grid, the company behind the new creations, is very excited to be rolling out these new treats. The company is hopeful that the treats will assist consumers with their oral health.

Created by a UCLA professor, Wenyuan Shi, Loloz Lollipops serve as an oral health point of access for the undeserved populations. This may include the impoverished, children, elderly, and any others who may not have access to oral health care providers. Shi discovered many Chinese herbs that had potential to fight oral bacteria. After over 50,000 tests and trials, he was most satisfied with the results provided by licorice root. The problem however, was that the herbs required extended exposure in order to kill the oral bacteria. After pondering the problem, Shi realized it could easily by solved by turning the licorice root into a lollipop, giving it the necessary time to fight off the bacteria. Fortunately, the licorice root didn’t have to taste like licorice and the lollipops were created with an orange flavor.

For the candies to work properly, it is important that it is not bitten into. The time spent sucking on the candy is required in order to activate the bacteria fighting properties associated with the licorice root.

The Xylitol candies work a bit differently. Instead of directly fighting the oral bacteria, they beat the bacteria by depriving them of one the things they need to survive. Sugar. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that lacks sucrose, an essential food for oral bacteria. As the Xylitol also promotes saliva production, this helps clear out any residual sucrose and bacteria, allowing for a cleaner, healthier smile. You can find these new Xylitol candies Amazon Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

Your Oral Health Guide: