Weight loss is the most common New Year’s Resolution. This is good for your health, but it could also be good for your teeth. We’ve already talked about the role that poor oral health can play in weight gain, so it makes sense to talk about the opposite effect: how losing weight can be good for your teeth.
Fewer Teeth-Damaging Foods
Many of the foods that lead to weight gain are also bad for your teeth. That’s because they are calorie-dense with high levels of carbohydrates, especially sugars, that can feed oral bacteria, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
So when you start to limit your consumption of these foods, you may notice that your oral health improves, too.
Even more important is to cut out between meal snacking. Constant snacking is the worst for teeth because it creates a steady supply of food for oral bacteria, which allows them to keep increasing their population and producing acid that damages your teeth.
Another benefit of losing weight is that it can reduce the inflammation in your body. Fat releases inflammatory compounds that can put the body’s immune system on high alert. This can be bad for your oral health.
In gum disease, the damage is caused just as much by your body’s immune response as by the oral bacteria. Some of the problem is that oral bacteria can hijack your body’s immune system. But the problem is also that chronic inflammation can trigger an exaggerated immune response. This can become more likely if your body is already experiencing inflammation.
If you develop type 2 diabetes as a result of weight gain, it can be hard to control. But losing weight can help you get your diabetes under control. This can help reduce the damage that diabetes does to teeth. This will reduce the sugar in saliva that comes from elevated blood sugar levels, and reduce the impact diabetes as on gum disease.
Weight Loss Is Good, but Not All Diets Are
Overall, obesity is a serious risk factor for tooth loss. Obese individuals are 50% more likely to lose a tooth and 25% more likely to lose all their teeth than normal weight individuals. So losing weight will be good for your teeth.
But that doesn’t always mean that dieting is good for your teeth. Some diets can be damaging to your teeth. Beware of any diet that encourages you to to consume acidic foods. This includes the so-called lemonade diet as well as its numerous imitators.
And as we hinted above, any diet that encourages you to eat numerous small snacks rather than a few larger meals needs to be dealt with carefully. Make sure you’re cleaning your teeth after every meal or snack. But only brush with toothpaste twice a day. Too much toothpaste can damage your teeth and gums.
And remember, diet soda can be just as bad for your teeth as regular soda.
If you are considering a diet to lose weight this year, it’s a good idea to mention it to your dentist so they can advise you choosing a tooth-healthy diet.
If you are looking for a dentist in The Woodlands to help you integrate good oral health with your overall healthy lifestyle, please call (281) 367-5559 today for an appointment with Scott Young, Purveyor of Fine Dentistry.