Fad diets may help you lose pounds, but you may lose teeth too.
Restrictive diets that feature lemon juice and other acidy drinks can weaken tooth enamel, according to a report by The Dallas News. Even diets that many consider healthy — liquid cleanses, low-carb diets like Atkins or Paleo, vegan or raw diets — may not always be so healthy for the teeth and gums.
Connie Mobley, associate dean of research at the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who wrote an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association, “Fad Diets: Facts for Dental Professionals,” believes that dentists are becoming more attuned to the connection between nutrition and oral health. But patients need to understand the connection, too, and get dental professionals’ guidance on how to keep teeth healthy.
Juice Cleanses and Your Teeth
Among the diets that can cause dental problems is a juice cleanse. During a cleanse people consume only fruit and vegetable juices for three to seven days. No solid food obviously means no chewing, and no chewing results in reduced saliva production. Your saliva play an important role in clearing food debris from your teeth, and controlling the bacterial buildup that leads to cavities.
Additionally, juices tend to be acidic, which breaks down tooth enamel. You’re much better off eating your fruit than drinking it. If you must have juice, dentists tend to suggest drinking it through a straw and then rinsing your mouth with water directly afterward.
Do not brush your teeth for an hour or so after drinking juice. Your enamel will be soft after exposure to acidy fluids, so let the acid neutralize – wait an hour or so before you brush. Once you’ve lost your enamel, it’s gone. But you can help to protect your teeth with fluoride mouthwashes and “remineralizing” toothpastes can help, too.)
Fewer carbs tend to mean less sugar – that’s great for teeth. But many dieters on these plans can experience dry mouth. As noted above, lack of saliva creates a harsh oral environment for your teeth.
Whether low carb is a diet or a lifestyle for you, take life better for your teeth when you’re eating low carb by keeping yourself well-hydrated with water, rinsing your mouth with a product designed for dry mouth care, and chewing sugarless gum.