Sunday, June 3, 2012

Probiotics Prevent Cavities and Improve Overall Oral Health


Some of you may know that my first job out of college was working in the Physiology Department at Baylor College of Dentistry. This is the job that cemented my absolute curiosity in research and medicine. You may also be aware that my Biological Medicine program of studies included a great deal of information and study of oral health and the correlation between a patient’s dental health and symptoms or illnesses they were experiencing. This gave me a whole new perspective on the important role our dentist plays in our overall health. You may also be aware that my niece Sarah recently graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry, so dentistry has been on my mind lately.

So when I came across 2 separate clinical trial studies that connected dental health and probiotics I was really impressed with what I found! It seems that a dental college in Finland studied the role of probiotics in reducing and preventing cavities in children between the ages of 3 and 4 in day care centers in Helsinki. They discovered that when these young children were given lactobacillus 5 days a week their incidence of cavities was drastically reduced!

This finding was attributed to the fact that adding lactobacillus in the diet dramatically reduced the mutans streptococcus colonies growing in the mouth. Reducing these bacterial strains resulted in better oral health, specifically preventing or dramatically reducing cavities in these young children.

The second study performed in a dental school in Istanbul, Turkey was aimed at young adults. This study uncovered the same reduction in cavities as well as overall oral health from the reduction of mutans streptococcus , but this time the benefits were attributed to bifidobacterium. They also included lactobacillus in the study but found no statistical significance in the young adults they studied.

What is clear to me is that a mixture of these probiotics may indeed be the best course of treatment!

One of the astounding things I learned in my Biological Medicine studies is that our human bodies contain more bacteria cells than human cells. In fact, my professor Dr. Thomas Rau, used to say that we are basically bags of bacteria with only a few human cells that are useful to distinguish me from you! In reality we are host to approximately 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells! So it just makes good sense to ensure that the bacterial cells are the “friendly” or “good” beneficial bacteria, not the destructive variety.

The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to eat a variety of fermented foods daily. You can try multiple recipes for alternative sour crème, ricotta, mascarpone, cheeses and so much more in my cookbook, or you can try the Super Easy Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut I posted on February 22nd, the Beet Kvass recipe I posted from my friend Di back on April 16th, the Lavender Honey & Lemon Ricotta Gelato I posted on May 12th one of the delicious alternative yogurts you can find in your supermarket that I posted on May 29th, the Margarita Ricotta Gelato I posted yesterday, or this delicious Very Vanilla Almond Kefir I made for you . . . 


Very Vanilla Almond Milk Kefir is Thick, Creamy, Delicious and Filled with Probiotics!

Very Vanilla Almond Milk Kefir
This delicious almond milk kefir is very thick, rich and creamy!  It’s slightly sweet from the dates used to make the almond milk, it’s perfectly infused with intoxicating vanilla and it’s super simple to make!  In fact, of all the fermented drinks, this one cultures faster than the rest and so it’s ready in only 24 hours!  It is fantastic as a snack or drink on it’s own, but it is also fantastic in a strawberry-banana smoothie as well!  Try some today and you will be hooked!
Yield – 1 pint

3 2/3 cups Very Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 cup almonds
1 packet kefir starter

For this recipe I used the recipe for Very Vanilla Almond Milk from my cookbook – OMG! That’s Allergy Free? – this is a very cost effective way to make your own almond milk and be able to control the ingredients – especially the sugar content. However, you can start with unsweetened almond milk and add 2 dates and a 1/4 inch piece of a vanilla bean.

Using your VitaMix or blend almond milk, almonds and kefir starter until smooth.  Pour into a pint jar with a tightly fitting lid and sit on your kitchen counter for 24 hours.  At this point it will begin to separate and become quite thick. 

It’s now ready to use or refrigerate.  I recommend drinking 2-4 ounces per day.  To keep your culture growing, each time you use some of your kefir, fill your container with more Very Vanilla Almond Milk and return it to the refrigerator.  If you use more than half at one time, refill and leave it out on the counter up to 10 hours before returning it to the refrigerator. 

It’s good to start a new batch after a few weeks to ensure you have adequate beneficial bacterial strains in your kefir.



Each of the recipes I have developed and posted for you contains a wide variety of beneficial bacterial strains that will help your body achieve a greater level of health from head to toe!

I have several more recipes to share that will not only boost your immune system, provide greater health, lower your stress levels, they also save you tons of money and only take minutes to prepare!

So be watching for more recipes and in the meantime do yourself and your body a favor and make it a point to eat some cultured foods today!

Dr. P

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