WE ALL KNOW how important regular dental visits and good daily brushing and flossing routines are to keeping our mouths healthy, but they aren’t the only factors. It might seem strange, but maintaining a healthy weight and staying active also have an effect on the health of our teeth and gums.
The Link Between Weight and Oral Health
A major factor that connects overall health and oral health is blood glucose. Sugar (which is made up of sucrose, a molecule that contains glucose) is the favorite food of oral bacteria. When we eat or drink anything sugary, it makes our blood glucose go up. We can keep our blood glucose at healthy levels by keeping our sugar intake to a minimum.
Doing this also decreases our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease that makes it much harder to regulate blood sugar and fight back against oral bacteria. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight also helps minimize inflammation in the body and keeps our bones strong and dense. That includes our teeth and jaws! Less inflammation and stronger bones mean a lower risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Not sure where to start with a fitness routine? How about some Zumba!
The Oral Health Dangers of Crash Dieting
Eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise are things we highly recommend, but crash or fad diets may do more harm than good. We understand the desire for fast, noticeable results, and we know how tantalizing personal success stories from friends or people on the internet can sound. However, sometimes these can lead to trouble for teeth and gums, such as the grapefruit diet, which exposes the teeth to a lot of strong acid. Other “easy” weight loss solutions like weight loss pills can lead to destructive teeth grinding habits.
Eating Right for Your Health and Your Teeth
A good diet is one that’s good for the whole body, including teeth and gums. Unlike a diet based around grapefruit, one that encourages eating a range of whole foods and reducing the intake of added sugars will ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs without coming at the expense of tooth enamel. Proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are all important for good oral health with strong gums and healthy oral tissues. And, of course, make sure to include good calcium sources for strong teeth!
We’re Rooting for Our Patients’ Health!
We encourage all of our patients to stay active (whether that means a gym membership, calisthenics at home, or walking or biking around the neighborhood) and eat healthy, but make sure you don’t neglect the basic oral health habits like brushing, flossing, and making regular dental visits in the process!