Thinking about starting on a new diet? You probably have your waistline in mind, but not your teeth. But weight-loss diets have been shown to have a major impact on your oral health. Your body is a multifaceted machine. The foods you choose to eat them can affect your general health but can especially affect the health of your teeth and gums. For example, if you consume too many sugar-filled sodas and snacks, you are risking tooth decay. To keep track of the amount of sugar you eat, the easiest thing you can do is read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods and beverages. Look for options with the lowest amount of sugar. You can also talk with your physician or a recommended dietitian, who can both provide suggestions for eating a healthier diet.
When your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may become hard for the tissues in your mouth to fight infection, which can lead to gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, around 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older. Research supports the idea that gum disease progresses faster and it potentially more severe when people aren’t getting the right nutrition.
Here’s an idea of how different diets can affect your oral health:
- A low-fat diet may hinder with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K. Vitamin D is particularly important for your oral health because it helps the body absorb calcium. If your body was not able to absorb calcium, your teeth and bones would start to get weak and break down. You should also be aware that when foods are labeled “low fat,” they often have added sugar to be able to maintain taste and texture. The added sugar in these foods could mean you have a higher chance of developing cavities.
- A low- or no-carb diet can cause your breath starts to smell like nail polish remover. The smell is coming from acetone — or possibly rotten fruit — and is a sign of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body starts to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. This process releases chemicals called ketones. You can help your “keto-breath” by drinking more water, brushing your teeth and scrubbing your tongue more often. You can also chew on natural breath fresheners and sugar-free mints. One of the most effective ways to freshen your breath again is by eating carbs. One thing you should keep in mind when considering the keto diet is that high levels of ketones can cause ketoacidosis, which is an illness where your blood levels become severely acidic. When your body is overloaded with ketones, it starts to burn muscle instead of fat, which can cause intense fatigue and even harm your heart.
- Consuming fewer calories is often the most effective way to lose weight, but a lot of people don’t realize that reducing the amount of food you eat by too much isn’t good for your health. When you reduce how much you eat, you may be depleting your body of essential minerals and vitamins. Malnourishment is not good for your body as a whole and for your oral health, it can weaken your jawbone, softened enamel, and make you vulnerable to gum disease.
- There is a trend of “detoxing diets” and while It may seem harmless to love off of only fruits and vegetables for a week or two, eating such a limited diet can cause significant problems for your mouth and body. Besides the effects of malnutrition from such a limited diet, the fruit has high levels of sugar and acid, which damages enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to decay and infection.
- Diet pills aren’t really known for being great for us, but some people still partake in hopes of quick results. Diet pills can cause a decrease in saliva, which causes your mouth to be dry and creates a host of oral health problems. Saliva is our bodies way of defending our teeth against decay. It contains cavity-fighting chemicals and helps to physically get rid of food and bacteria particles. When your mouth is dry, you are vulnerable to various diseases.
So, the best thing you can do for your oral help before you jump into a new diet is to consult your doctor and dentist. The dentists at O’Connor Health Center are more than willing to answer any questions you may have about your oral health. Our goal is to help our patients fight against potential diseases by educating them on the importance of positive oral hygiene and how to maintain it. We specialize in dental cleaning procedures and frequently perform a variety of them daily, so you can rest assured that yours will be performed by a skilled and experienced medical professional. If you haven’t been to a dental office in a while, it may be time for teeth cleaning. Call
O’Connor Health Center in San Jose at (650) 334-1010 to schedule an appointment today!