Recently, our CEO Julie Smolyansky’s oldest daughter lost one of her top front teeth. As she was promised, the Tooth Fairy paid her a visit and left $3.50 underneath her pillow – just enough to purchase a 32-ounce bottle of our kefir. Even though Toothless McGee (as we now call her) drinks kefir on a regular basis, her mom and dad are especially excited to watch her swig the family beverage whenever she loses a tooth, because they know how important probiotics can be for dental health.
Yes, probiotics for dental health – just another reason we love kefir. For more information, we asked Lina Garcia, DDS, DMD, a holistic dentist in South Barrington, IL, and author of Cleaner Teeth, Longer Life, for her take on how the healthy bacteria (aka probiotics) in kefir might help keep mouths happy. She had a lot to say!
“Every time you add good bacteria into your body – through kefir or through fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut or pickles – you are adding good microorganisms and helping to change the environment into one that’s more resistant to disease,” Dr. Garcia told us. She pointed to recent research out of Harvard and Case Western Reserve suggesting that malignant colorectal tumors may actually be linked to dangerous bacteria in the mouth and gut. Theoretically, she said, “the more probiotics we take, the more we can put down” nasty bugs these.
Probiotics are also helpful for calming system-wide inflammation, Dr. Garcia says, and inflammation is consistently linked to everything from cancer to autoimmune disease. The key, though, is sticking to plain, unflavored kefir, as bacteria in the mouth like to feed on sugar.
Other ways to power-up your oral health:
- Get rid of any mercury fillings you may have
- Eat plenty of fermented vegetables and foods
- Visit a dental professional for regular checkups and cleanings
- Practice good oral hygiene. This includes not just brushing and flossing but using a thin towel to wipe teeth clean after brushing. This helps catch plaque deposits your brush and floss may have missed. This is a great tip to try with babies and toddlers, who may be less than thrilled when you try to brush their teeny chompers
While drinking kefir is a great way to boost your oral health, it isn’t a substitute for professional care. So if you’ve got a feeling something in your mouth isn’t right, visit your dental professional first. If you’re intrigued by what Dr. Garcia has to say (we sure are), you can find a holistic dental professional in your area and learn more by visiting holisticdental.org