Dieting and Oral Health
Many Americans resolve to live healthier lives and lose weight. However, they do not often consider the impact of dieting on their oral health. Many diets either lack essential nutrients, or require a drink or supplement that is highly acidic or sugary.
Acidic foods and drinks attack both the enamel and the underlying dentin, which leads to tooth damage and if left untreated, could result in the need for a root canal or extraction. Sugary drinks or foods promote the growth of bacteria, which can lead to the same thing.
Diet sodas may be healthier in terms of calories, but they are no better in terms of acids. Sodas contain large amounts of citric and phosphoric acids, which can eat millions of holes in your enamel each time you drink one. Sports drinks and energy drinks are no healthier – they share the same flavor enhancing and preservative acids that are often used in sodas. In fact, energy drinks tend to be worse than sports drinks and many diet sodas. Many sports drinks and diet supplements have a pH value of around 3 – in comparison, water has a pH value of 7, while battery acid has a pH value of 1. This means that with time and continued use, these ‘healthy’ alternatives will actually eat through your teeth!
Liquid diets are also of concern to dental health
Those that rely solely on a meal replacement drink are often damaging as these also have a very high acidic content, and there is no other food to help neutralize the acids.
If you do drink sodas, limit soda intake. It is also better to drink a soda all at once, and then wash it down with food or water – this limits the amount of time that the sticky, acidic residue has on your teeth. Drinking a soda over a long period of time allows the residue to continue to eat through your enamel, even when you are not actually drinking the soda.
Flavored waters are often touted as a healthier alternative to sodas and sports drinks. However, many of the flavors and additives in these waters are very high in acidity – although they are better for your teeth than sodas, they can still cause significant decay.
Weston dentist Dr Pyle recommends the following to keep your mouth healthy while dieting:
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages, including health juices and fruit juices.
- Carbohydrates also promote decay, especially chips, breads, or pastas.
- Foods that are sticky cling to teeth, promoting decay – even if the food itself is healthy! These effects are lessened if eaten with other food to wash them down, as it will prevent the foods from sticking to the teeth and causing bacteria. Make sure to brush your teeth after eating foods like raisins, honey, granola bars, or other sticky foods.
- Calcium rich foods such as cheese and milk can help rebuild enamel, and prevent gum disease and cavities.
- Drink lots of water to wash foods off your teeth and promote good mouth hygiene.
- Vitamins A, D, C, B2, B3, and B12 are also important dietary supplements that promote oral health by rebuilding teeth, protecting gums, or helping your body absorb calcium.
Call your family dentist in Weston, FL for more information on all of your Oral Health.