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Dr. Ellison's Blog

Posts for category: Diet

By Dr. Ellison
June 21, 2017
Category: Diet
Tags: healthy   hydration   summer   vitamins   antioxidants   water  

RaspberrisWith summer's arrival and kids home for the better part of three months, patients and parents sometimes ask me for suggestions of healthy snacks (and not just for kids). It can be easy to fall into the trap of junk and processed food, but with a little thought and planning these healthier options are definitely doable. I certainly enjoy chips and salsa or occasional potato chips as well. Pretzels were always my go-to when I got home from work. We enjoy taking advantage of summer's seasonal foods as well for both snacks and meals. Here are ten of my favorites.

  1. Nuts
    Specifically walnuts. Full of fiber and protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants, it doesn't take much for these to keep you feeling full longer. I read that studies show just 1 ounce of walnuts 5 times a week can cut heart disease risk by almost 40 .percent. Nuts, in general, are an easy snack to grab on your way out the door. Walnuts tasted like dirt to me at first, but you get used to them.

  2. Watermelon
    Along with drinking water, some foods offer great hydrating effects and watermelon is one, containing more than 90 percent water. Watermelon also contains lycopene, which helps to protect the skin from damaging sun, as well as antioxidants, and vitamins A,B6 and C. We have probably had watermelon at every summer barbecue.

  3. Raspberries
    Sweet, full of vitamins and 1 cup contains as much as 8 grams of fiber. Raspberries are one of my favorites for breakfast.

  4. Blueberries
    Sweet yet tart, Blueberries are full of antioxidants and fiber. I like them fresh, but frozen are great for throwing in a smoothie.

  5. Tart Cherries
    Cherries just remind me of summer. We used to go pick them when I was a kid and I'd eat them right out of my bucket before I had finished filling it up. Of course, as a kid I was unaware that cherries contain cancer-fighting flavonoids and anthocyanins that help increase fat burning, as well as melatonin that may help sleep. 

  6. Tomatoes
    There is nothing like fresh homegrown tomatoes in summer, sliced with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I like them paired with some mozzarella and a little basil. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, the phytonutrient that gives them the red color and helps protect the skin from sun. Tomatoes contain plenty of vitamin C and are about 94 percent water content too.

  7. Cucumbers
    Cucumbers actually have a higher water content than watermelon at 95 percent. They're low calorie and versatile. Try them as a replacement for crackers with cheese. I was skeptical at first too.

  8. Avocados
    We can't keep enough avocados around our house. They go with just about everything from sandwiches and burgers, to salads and eggs. Of course, guacamole and chips are a must.

  9. Spinach
    Full of fiber and essential nutrients that your body can lose when you've been outside in the sun, spinach makes a great salad base for lunch or dinner, added to eggs, on a sandwich. I recently learned that spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium per cup.

  10. Celery
    If you're like me, you probably think celery has no taste. But it's a great vehicle for other things. You can top it with cream cheese or peanut butter or anything you can think.Celery is 95 percent water, contains fiber, vitamins A,C,K, B, folate and potassium. Celery is one tha I eat almost daily.


Most of these foods, except for nuts, contain a lot of water so they make excellent snacks in the summer when it is even more important to stay hydrated. Spending excessive time in the sun and sweating can deplete your body's  electrolytes-potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. These foods are all healthy choices for your teeth as well as your body

By Dr. Ellison
June 07, 2015
Category: Diet
Tags: erosion   enamel   acid   decay   soda   carcinogenic   caramel coloring  

Soda CansYou may have heard that sodas are bad for you. The acid and sugar erode the tooth enamel, causing decay and sensitivity. A recent study, published in an article in Science Daily, brings to light another worrisome component of soda.

It is widely known that protective enamel erodes away when it is exposed to acid. The phosphoric and citric acids contained in sodas are major contributors by increasing acidity, lowering the pH balance in the mouth. Furthermore, a variety of natural and artificial sweeteners also contribute to higher acid levels by sticking to the tooth enamel and providing a food source for bacteria. The bacteria then multiply, coat your teeth, and produce lactic acid. This process begins to wear away the tooth enamel in the same way as the phosphoric and citric acids. Sodas get their carbonation from the addition of small amounts of carbon dioxide to the water. As a result, carbonic acid is produced and it too erodes the enamel.

If the negative effects of soda on oral health are not enough, here is some more food for thought. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have detected and analyzed a potentially carcinogenic byproduct of certain types of caramel coloring found in colas and dark sodas. Caramel coloring is commonly used and people who regularly consume these beverages that contain it could be exposing themselves to 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible carcinogen formed during the process of some caramel coloring. You can read the original article here http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218191653.htm?utm_source=feedburner.

It’s probably not a bad idea to cut back and perhaps eliminate sodas from your regular diet since there really are no benefits from its consumption. 

By Dr. Ellison
April 02, 2015
Category: Diet
Tags: erosion   enamel   citric acid   diet  

I recently learned that my granddaughter enjoys eating lemons. You might imagine the near panic I felt when I learned that the lemon wedge her mother puts into her water bottle (in an attempt to naturally flavor and encourage her to drink more water) was actually being consumed. Sucking on lemons (citric acid) can cause erosion of tooth enamel. When enamel is worn away, the dentin underneath is exposed, which can lead to sensitivity and pain.

While it has become an increasingly popular practice among health seekers to drink lemon water, and sometimes hot lemon water, it is a known fact that acidic food and drink can corrode enamel. This creates a rough surface on the tooth. Adding a lemon wedge to your water is fine as long as you don’t suck on it nor is it a good idea to regularly squeeze the lemon juice into the water. I suggested that my granddaughter stick with plain water unless she is willing to end her practice of eating the lemon wedges.

If you already have some erosion of tooth enamel, there are remedies such as sealants, bonding or veneers to protect the existing tooth structure and restore your beautiful smile. Avoid over-brushing or vigorous brushing and using firm pressure. Instead use a soft-bristled brush, applying gentle pressure in a circular motion to effectively remove bacteria and slough the acids off of the tooth surface.