Westchester November 2018

Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Can’t Protect Your Teeth

The Problem With Going ‘Natural’

Natural and alternative toothpastes have been growing in popularity, riding on the coattails of the recent organic movement that seeks to remove harmful products from our lives and our bodies. This doesn’t sound like such a terrible thing, but the problem is natural toothpaste is often just code for “fluoride-free.” Dentists are starting to see the impact of this growing craze in their patients’ mouths. Researchers from the University of Washington have found that using fluoride-free toothpaste is about as effective as not using toothpaste at all. They analyzed three different studies involving 800 children between the ages of 10 and 13 from the United States and Great Britain. In their report, the researchers determined there was no significant reduction in cavities in the children who did not use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride-free toothpaste brands often use the word “natural” to imply they are somehow superior to other brands on the market. Interestingly, it seems they have forgotten that fluoride comes from the natural element

fluorine and has been proven to be beneficial to improving the health of our teeth time and time again. But despite the evidence, demand for fluoride-free toothpaste continues to grow. How do you get your patients to understand the importance of using toothpaste that actually works? To start, point out that the acts of scrubbing with a brush and flossing do help get plaque off your teeth — toothpaste isn’t solely responsible for removing the factors that lead to gum disease and decay. However, emphasize that fluoride toothpaste is a recommended part of the brushing process because fluoride helps disrupt dental plaque and reduces the demineralization process. Removing fluoride from your brushing routine can lead to an increase in cavities, especially in children. As Damien Walmsley, scientific advisor to the British Dental Association and dentistry professor at the University of Birmingham, says, “It’s really important to debunk this idea that brushing your teeth stops decay. You need to have the fluoride.”

Spicy, Creamy Sweet Potatoes

Have a Laugh

Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, but they’re often the blandest thing on the table. Luckily that’s not the case with this recipe, which features Thai spices and coconut milk.


1. Heat oven to 375 F. On a large sheet pan, bake potatoes until very soft, approximately 75 minutes. 2. Let potatoes cool until they are safe to handle, then peel and mash. 3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine coconut milk and curry paste. Once mixed, add the mixture, salt, half the sugar, and half the butter to potatoes. 4. 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 F. Spread potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Uncover potatoes and dot with remaining butter and sugar. Broil until brown, crusty, and delicious. Serve hot.


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● 5 pounds sweet potatoes ● 1 cup canned coconut milk ● 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste ● 1/2 cup dark brown sugar ● 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

● 1 tablespoon kosher salt


Inspired by The New York Times

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