Whether we like it or not, the things we eat and drink can have direct positive or negative effects on our teeth. While most of us know that sugar is the worst thing for your dental health, there are other issues to be aware of when it comes to your diet and your teeth. In our blog, we want to tackle fad diets and how they could be causing some dental issues – as well as cover the diets that may promote the best tooth health by including essential vitamins and nutrients (like calcium). Keep reading for more information. What type of diet is best for your teeth?
Popular Diets and Your Teeth
New diets are popping up almost monthly, it seems. And while many promote weight loss and added health benefits, none ever mention the impacts on your dental health. Let’s compare the best and worst aspects of five popular diets according to how they affect your teeth.
BEST: Low in Carbs and Sugar
WORST: Bad Breath
This diet forces your body to burn fat instead of sugar (carbohydrates) for energy, resulting in rapid weight loss. However, the process of ketosis releases some nasty-smelling chemicals, and bad breath is a common side effect of the keto diet. To counteract bad breath, try using a xylitol-sweetened mouthwash and add a little fresh mint to your drinking water.
WORST: Dry Mouth, Acid Reflux, Teeth Grinding
With this diet, you can eat anything you want, but only at certain times of day. Unfortunately, going for long periods of time without eating can have some negative side effects for your teeth. Dry mouth from forgetting to drink water between meals, acid reflux from an empty stomach, and unconscious teeth grinding when hungry can all cause serious damage.
BEST: Rich in Vitamins and Minerals, Anti-Inflammatory
WORST: Possibly Low in Calcium, Possibly Processed, High in Carbs and Sugar
Whether or not this diet is good for your teeth will depend on the style of plant-based eating you adopt. If you eat a lot of processed foods, carbs, and sugar, your teeth will suffer. And without dairy products, there’s also a risk of calcium deficiency. However, whole foods, plant-based diet can be really good for your teeth, especially if it includes lots of calcium-rich plant foods like almonds, pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens.
BEST: Low in Carbs and Sugar, No Processed Food
WORST: Low in Calcium
Our paleolithic ancestors probably had healthy teeth, because they didn’t get much sugar (or sugar-producing carbohydrates) in their diets. Eating a paleo diet can be good for your teeth, but like a plant-based diet, it also excludes dairy products. You’ll need to make sure to include sufficient sources of calcium to compensate for cutting milk, cheese, and yogurt out of your diet.
BEST: Rich in Calcium, Anti-Inflammatory
WORST: Staining, Possibly Processed, High in Carbs and Sugar
This diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and olive oil. With a Mediterranean diet, you can eat most foods in moderation—it even allows for cheese, pasta, desserts, and red wine. When it’s done right, the anti-inflammatory properties of a Mediterranean diet can benefit your dental health, especially if you have gum disease. Just keep sugar, carbs, citrus, and wine to a minimum to prevent stains and cavities.
See Your Doctor Before Starting a New Diet
Before you decide to take on a new diet or lifestyle, it is important to ask your doctor about whether or not you’ll be getting the necessary nutrients for your body. Depending on your health, goals, and even your genetics and gender, your doctor may steer you away from certain diets from the beginning. In addition, chatting with your dentist about which diets could help give you the best dental health is important. Our excellent dentists at Enhance Dental take pride in knowing the best ways to optimize the health of your teeth. So, schedule an appointment today so we can partner with you in health.