Losing weight is probably the most common New Year’s resolution. And while many people may already have dropped their resolution, there may be some of you struggling with trying to maintain yours.
Well, if you need some additional incentive to stick with your diet and lose the weight you’ve pledged, think of your teeth, which will also benefit from your efforts.
Fewer Teeth-Damaging Foods
You may be cutting foods out of your diet to lose weight, but as a side effect, you’ll probably be helping preserve your teeth, too. Many of the foods that are worst for your weight are also the worst for your teeth. Anything with high levels of refined carbohydrates, especially sugars, will feed oral bacteria in your mouth that infect your teeth and gums.
Also important is changing the habits of how you eat. If you’re used to snacking multiple times every day, then cut back on snacks, you’ll help your teeth. Every time you eat, you feed bacteria, and that causes them to release damaging acids. Fewer snacks mean fewer damaging acids.
One of the major health impacts of excess body fat is chronic inflammation. Fat releases inflammatory proteins that put your immune system on high alert and can cause genetic damage.
The increased inflammatory compounds in your body can have a bad effect on your oral health. Much of the damage caused by gum disease is actually the result of your immune system working over-aggressively. This can be the result of an over-aggressive response from your immune system or it can be caused by bacteria hijacking your immune system. But both effects become more likely when your body is flooded with more inflammatory compounds. So, less fat can mean a lower risk for damaging gum disease and receding gums.
Type 2 diabetes is a common consequence of being overweight or obese. Uncontrolled diabetes is also very bad for your teeth.
Diabetes increases systemic inflammation. Poor blood sugar control can reduce the ability of blood to flow into your gums and teeth, so there’s fewer resources for your body to use to fight infection. And when your blood sugar spikes, it can actually increase the levels of sugar in your saliva. This means that oral bacteria can feed on your saliva, which is supposed to help control bacteria levels.
But Will Your Diet Be Good for Your Teeth?
As a result of these various factors, obese people are at an increased risk for tooth loss. Studies have shown that obese people are 50% more likely to lose at least one tooth, and 25% more likely to lose all their teeth than a person of normal weight. So, losing weight is always good for your oral health. But not all diets are.
Some diets are likely to benefit your teeth. The 100-bite diet, for example, may dramatically reduce the wear on your teeth. And increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat every day can also be helpful. But not all diets are good for your teeth.
Diets that ask you to consume many acidic foods and drinks will be hard on your teeth. The lemonade diet is a good example of an acrid food diet that can be bad for teeth. Diets that ask you to have many small snacks require some extra care. Consider cleaning your teeth after every snack. Brush without toothpaste, chew some sugar-free gum, or rinse your mouth out.
It’s also important to remember that not all diet foods are healthy. Diet soda is a good example of a “diet” food that is very damaging to your teeth. (Plus, it’s not likely to help you lose weight.)
If you want to learn more about how your lifestyle can enhance or damage your oral health, please call today for an appointment with Wilmington, NC dentist Dr. Michael Kuzma at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.