Healthy Diet Food Choices Benefit Teeth and Gums
If you put losing weight at the top of your 2018 New Year’s resolutions list, we’ve got some good news for you that may add impetus for maintaining that resolution going forward: Not only does weight loss generally benefit overall health, but the food choices made during dieting often serve to benefit your teeth and overall oral health. That’s because many of the food items that can affect your waist line can also be detrimental to your teeth.
Sugar Intake a Prime Consideration in Both Dieting and Oral Health
Sugar intake is often among the top considerations in weight loss diets, and a reduction in sugar intake not only can help with the weight loss, but also enhances the overall health of your teeth and gums. Sugar represents unnecessary added calories in relation to diet, and serves as prime food for bacteria in your mouth that use it to produce acid that attack tooth enamel. By cutting sugar intake you help impede bacteria in your mouth that produce tartar, plaque and tooth decay.
Perhaps one of the biggest culprits in most Americans’ excess sugar intake comes from sugary drinks, such as soda. That’s because a typical 12-ounce non-diet soft drink contains between eight to 13 teaspoons worth of sugar, excess sugar that will generally be converted to fat reserves and serve as food for the bacteria impinging on your oral health.
Note also that many sodas contain caffeine, which dries out your mouth and reduces saliva production. Saliva is critically important to the health of your teeth and gums because it helps protect them from the harmful bacteria, and helps transport important minerals that rebuild tooth enamel. So, even diet sodas can be detrimental to your oral health.
Sugar is also present in large quantities in many sports drinks. While they can help athletes engaged in vigorous, prolonged competition, they are unnecessary for recovery from basic exercise and conditioning.
Consider Water as Your Drink of Choice
Instead of reaching for a soda, sports drink or other sugary drink, nutritionists and dentists recommend water as among the most healthy drink choices. Water is crucial for overall hydration and helps you maintain healthy saliva levels. It also helps flush away harmful mouth bacteria and, if from a public system, may include a fluoride additive that helps protect and rebuild your teeth’s enamel.
Snack Foods Include Bacteria-Enhancing Starches
Many dieters also try to limit their intake of starchy foods, such as found in bread, pasta and cereals. As a carbohydrate, starch can add to the waist line, and is also utilized as a food source by the harmful bacteria in your mouth. In considering a reduction in your starch intake as a benefit to both your waist line and oral health, start first with starchy snack foods like potato chips, cookies and cakes that offer little in the way of nutritional value.
Ask Your Dentist for Healthy Eating Tips
If you’ve set a weight loss resolution for the new year, ask your dentist for advice on healthy foods that can help you lose weight and enhance the health of your teeth and gums. With years of experience, The Island Tower Dentistry team has a wealth of knowledge about the link between food, diet habits and oral health. The Marco Island, Florida office may be able to help you tailor a diet that not only helps you lose the pounds, but maintain that beautiful smile. If you would like to see what the team can do for your oral health and smile, contact us today at 239-394-1004 to make an appointment!