It takes a lifetime of good eating and exercise habits to maintain a healthy body weight. It also takes good habits to take care of our teeth.
It can be very tempting to sign on to a crash diet or embark on a fad diet when those pounds don’t seem to drop quickly enough. But dentists are warning that some of these diets can be detrimental to your teeth. A few cautionary tales:
- Juice Diets and Juice Cleanses: Nutritionists and dentists agree that juices can pack quite a bit of sugar and calories per serving. Water is a better regular drink for both your waistline and your gumline. However, there are diets where juice is used not to supplement meals but as a meal replacement. Juices unfortunately accentuate the acidic property that vegetables and fruit have. That is, when you are chewing, you are actually helping your teeth rid its surface of the sugars and the acids. When no chewing is involved, the acids and sugars are actually coating your teeth and gums. If you are juicing, try to use a straw and be sure to brush your teeth afterwards (which might mean bringing a toothbrush to your workplace).
- Starvation diets, including fasting and 5:2: Perhaps you’ve heard of the 5:2 diet; it is quite popular in the United Kingdom. It involves eating normally on five days and eating one-fourth of a calorie count or low calorie liquids on two days of the week. These diets can contribute to bad breath and to fluctuations in insulin levels. If you perceive that your breath is turning foul, then you need to eat a bit more carbohydrates and hydrate more, as well.
- Meal replacement bars and shakes.These are still a popular alternative for people.The shakes and bars are a controlled portion size and they can be low-calorie. Often, they are not low sugar. Again, brush your teeth after consuming them and use straws with milkshakes.
- Low-fat foods. When processed foods promote themselves as “low fat”, they are often not particularly low calorie and they tend to have replaced the fat with sugar. Again, be prepared to brush your teeth afterwards or at least rinse with water.