The things you eat and drink directly affect your oral health. For example, everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. But when most people start a new diet, their dental health isn’t the first thing on their minds. Today we take a look at some trendy fad diets and how they might affect your dental health.
What type of diet is best for your teeth?
A tooth-friendly diet includes lots of calcium-rich foods, fresh vegetables, whole foods, and plenty of water. Processed foods, acidic foods, alcohol, and sugary foods and drinks are the worst for your teeth. In general, any well-balanced diet that’s good for your health should be good for your teeth, too. Fad diets, however, are a different story, and they might exclude some important nutrients for good dental health.
Which fad diets are best or worst for your teeth?
It seems like there’s always a new diet popping up that’s supposed to promote good health and help you lose weight. Although some diets might be good for your waistline, they aren’t always good for your teeth. 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, a 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.
Always Consult Your Doctor or Dentist
Before you start any new diet, talk to your dentist about how it might affect your teeth. No matter how you eat or which new diet you try, make sure to drink plenty of water. And, if you notice any negative side effects like dry mouth or bad breath, you may need to make some changes.
If you’re thinking about starting a new diet, or have noticed that your current diet has some negative effects on your teeth, make an appointment at Hampden Dental Group today. During your exam, feel free to discuss the effects that diet can have on your oral health, and consult our experts to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for healthy teeth.