We know by now that consuming too many sugary sodas, candy, fruit drinks and non-nutritious snacks can increase risk of tooth decay. But a common misconception is that going on a “diet” will fix this problem. We hear the word “diet” and think healthy, but this isn’t always the case. On the contrary, there are also down-sides to restrictive, extreme diets as they interfere with vitamin absorption and can weaken your teeth.
So, what’s a concerned patient to do? Read on to see how your diet is affecting your teeth and why a well-balanced diet will better support healthy teeth and gums.
As many people are already aware, having a poor diet can increase risk of gum disease. This is because too many carbohydrates and excessive sugar will increase production of plaque that will break down tooth enamel. Basically, when bacteria come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth. This will eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities. Yes, tooth decay is very common, but it is also very preventable. Click here to learn more about tooth decay and how to brush properly.
Watching your nutrition and consuming a well-balanced diet helps to make sure your body, and teeth, maintain health and wellness. We recommend choosing a variety of nutritious foods like raw vegetables, yogurt, fruit, cheese, complete protein sources and whole grains. Another helpful tip is to read food labels. Check for foods that are high in added sugars and try to only eat these in moderation.
Now let’s talk about diets. Low carb, no carb, low fat, whatever it may be, many Americans are turning to diets, thinking that this is a healthier option for their bodies. But have you thought how prolonged, extreme diets are really effecting your teeth? Think about it, if your eating habits continually lack certain nutrients, it actually becomes increasingly difficult for your mouth to resist infection. This can contribute to gum disease, tooth loss and possibly cause the disease to progress more rapidly.
Other problems become more apparent on certain diets. For example, on a low fat diet, you can start disrupting the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E and K. This will also impair the absorption of calcium, which can weaken your teeth and bones. Also, when on an extreme low carb diet, your breath can start to smell like acetone, which is a sign that your body is using fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. Learn more about beating bad breath here.
And lastly, on a low calorie diet, your body becomes deprived of minerals and vitamins. Missing out on these necessary nutrients can soften your enamel, weaken your jaw bone and make your gums more vulnerable to gum disease.
Bottom line is, before you start a new diet, it’s important to take into consideration how it will affect your oral health. It may not seem like it now, but depriving your body of needed nutrients can be detrimental to your future health. Instead, a balanced diet, rich in nutrients is always recommended to ensure proper health and overall wellness.
If you need more information, a good place to start is by scheduling a visit with your dentist. And if you haven’t signed up for a Dental Select plan yet, take a look at our current offerings here.