If losing weight was on your list of resolutions for the new year, you might be making changes to your diet. When done with care and guidance from health and dental care professionals, dieting is often an effective way to improve your wellness and shed pounds. But revising the foods you eat can have unintended consequences — both good and bad — for your smile. If you’re altering your lifestyle, here’s what you should know.
How Dieting Impacts Your Dental Care
Nutrients for Oral Health
For many dieters, cutting out unhealthy, processed foods is the first step toward weight loss. If you replace these foods with more nutritional options, your body will likely get more nutrients that are essential to oral health. For example, increased calcium from dark leafy greens will help build stronger teeth, while ample vitamin C from fruit can strengthen the mouth’s defenses against oral bacteria.
On the other hand, diet plans that severely restrict daily calorie counts or eliminate entire food groups may prevent you from getting these nutrients. Over time, deficiencies can increase your risk of dental care problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and even lost bone density in your jaw.
Acidic Foods Attack Enamel
Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake will boost your nutrients, but some produce is highly acidic. The citric acid found in oranges and grapefruits, for instance, can wear away at tooth enamel, increasing the risk of dental staining and cavities.
To protect your mouth from these foods, consume them along with non-acidic options to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Rinsing with water or drinking milk along with meals may also help.
Reduced Carbs, Reduced Cavity Risk
Ketogenic diets are those that focus on low-carb, high-fat meals, which may push the body to burn fat. These plans offer a unique benefit for oral health: low sugar intake. By cutting out whole grains, processed sweets, and starchy foods, you’ll minimize your smile’s exposure to sugars that feed cavity-causing bacteria. Still, you should talk to your doctor before embarking on any new plan to ensure your nutritional needs are met.
Supplements & Saliva Production
Supplements and diet pills are usually not ideal for long-term health and nutrition. In addition, many of these products contain stimulants that cause dry mouth. Without saliva to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria, you may become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Whether you’re watching your waistline or simply trying to be healthier, keeping your teeth in good shape requires help from a trusted dentist. For the best care, turn to the professionals at Smile Central Dental. With locations in Union City, Passaic, and Paterson, NJ, this provider makes it easy to get the dental care you need, like teeth cleaning and oral exams. Visit this practice online to learn more. For appointments, call (973) 742-4200 for the Paterson location, (973) 574-1000 for the Passaic practice, or (201) 325-8444 to speak with the Union City team.