Maintaining good oral health is essential for your overall health and well-being. Brushing and flossing regularly, along with scheduling routine dental checkups are among the leading preventative tips to protect you from tooth decay and gum disease–many of us already know that.
However, did you know that weight loss and a sustainable, well-balanced diet can also play a role in your oral health?
Diet and nutrition are significant variables when it comes to your oral health, so you must keepit is essential that you keep this relationship in mind when planning for weight loss or an adjustment in diet.
Oral Diseases and Obesity Correlations
According to the American Dental Association, a bidirectional relationship exists between one’s diet and nutrition and oral health.
Just as the mouth affects the consumption of nutrients, the consumption of nutrients affects the tissues of the mouth.
Studies have shown a correlation between obesity and poor oral health, specifically periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease and causes tooth loss over time but has also been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
One study showed that patients who were overweight had double the incidence of developing periodontitis, furthermore, patients considered obese showed triple the incidence of developing periodontitis.
The primary common denominator that periodontitis and obesity share is inflammation which is the body’s immune system response to irritants and toxins found in the body.
Therefore, obesity and high body fat percentages can be linked to an increased risk of periodontitis.
Crash Diets and Oral Health
You’ve heard the term Crash Dieting and the negative side effects that accompany it, but did you know that many crash diets can also harm your teeth and gum health?
One example is the grapefruit diet which wreaks havoc on the enamel of your teeth and gums. The frequent consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages is directly correlated with the erosion of your tooth enamel.
Juice cleanses have also gained popularity in weight loss. Low-calorie diets such as these cause insulin levels to spike and then plummet which can alter collagen production in the body and affect the fibers of your gums.
A long-term low-fat diet can also disrupt your oral health by restricting your absorption of important vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K which are all important for the overall health of your body and mouth.
Vitamin D, specifically, is essential for calcium intake, and without the proper absorption of calcium, your bones and teeth with suffer. Fat also plays a role in a mood-boosting chemical called dopamine.
Reducing fat from your diet can cause you to feel the effects of stress and could result in you grinding your teeth while you sleep.
Often times, added sugars take the place of reduced-fat products, so it is important to read the nutritional labels of any new products you introduce into your diet.
Whole Foods and Oral Nutrition
Consider diets that encourage the consumption of whole foods and the reduction of added sugars so that your body, and therefore your teeth and gums, are receiving the proper nutrients needed to function optimally.
Minimizing your sugar and carbohydrate intake can also help prevent cavities from forming, since the bacteria that cause cavities use those sugars to reproduce and grow.
According to Dr. Guneet Alag, a dentist in Hayward, California, these bacteria are the main worry when it comes to oral health.
“These bacteria depend on sugars to survive, metabolizing them and creating acid in the mouth that weakens tooth enamel, ultimately resulting in poor dental health,” says Alag.
Healthy teeth and gums also work in our favor when it comes to consuming a healthy variety of foods. When your gums and teeth are in poor shape, it makes it difficult to chew and digest certain foods that are essential for your health like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Keeping up with your oral health allows you to consume a healthy and balanced diet aiding in your overall wellness.
In addition to a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water throughout the day not only benefits your overall health but your oral health as well.
Water flushes away harmful bacteria and acids preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Keeping your body, mouth, and gums hydrated also helps to increase saliva production which assist in breaking down food, making it easier to swallow.
Keep Your Oral Health in Check
Some of the best tips you can take away from this in order to maintain your oral health and a healthy body weight are:
- Avoid crash diets that can strain your teeth and gums, and meal replacements that are high in added sugars
- Brush and floss regularly to remove plaque and food particles that become lodged between your teeth
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, keeping gums hydrated and flushing out bacteria and food particles that build up.
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet that focuses on nutrient-dense, whole foods like raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
- Schedule regular dental checkups for cleanings and maintenance to catch any oral concerns early on.
Maintaining good oral health is essential to your overall well-being and physiological function. Taking good care of your teeth and gums can improve your lifestyle and help you reach your weight-loss and lifestyle goals.
Be sure to discuss your options with a dietician or healthcare professional before trying any drastic changes made in your diet and lifestyle.
This precaution will help ensure that a major adjustment benefits your overall health in the best possible way.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.