It seems like every year, a new fad diet emerges that promises to cure all our ills, melt away those pesky lbs, or make us feel 16 again. And while fad diets like juicing, low-carb (South Beach/Atkins), and veganism may indeed accomplish some of these health goals, they can also have disastrous effects on one’s teeth if not properly monitored or balanced with supplements and proper dental hygiene. To help our patients avoid or prevent the tooth and gums damage associated with today’s most popular fad diets, the healthcare professionals at Infinite Dental Wellness have researched the negative side-effects of fad diets on an individual’s dental health – and how to avoid them.
Juicing & Juice Cleanses
While many people swear by juice cleanses (which dictate that practitioners consume only fruit and vegetable juices from between 1-14 days), the somewhat controversial health benefits may be offset by the damage drinking only liquid juice can do to one’s teeth. First, if a person is not eating solid foods, then they also are not chewing, and chewing stimulates the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva. Second, most juices are extremely acidic, and this acid can strip away the layer of protective enamel and leave teeth visibly dully, chalky, textured, and sensitive. In fact, one 2015 German study showed orange juice and apple juice were three times more erosive than Coca-Cola!
If you’re juicing, try:
- Using a straw when drinking acidic, corrosive juices
- Swishing with water or mouthwash after drinking juice
- Brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes or more after drinking juice
- Opting for whole fruits and veggies (rather than juices) whenever possible
Diets that restrict or limit carbohydrate consumption — Atkins, South Beach, and the newest fad diet, “Paleo,” all come to mind — do eliminate foods that lead to tooth decay, true, but these diets also value protein and fats above all else, leading practitioners to miss out on healthy, crunchy vegetables. Low carb diets can also lead to dry mouth, which can cause bad breath and an increase in cavity-causing bacteria.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, try:
- Managing symptoms of dry mouth or bad breath with alcohol-free mouthwash
- Chewing sugar-free gum or mints containing xylitol
- Drinking LOTS of water
Veganism, by definition, means that a practitioner cannot eat any products that come from animals like meat, dairy, milk, or eggs. While not eating animal products is beneficial for many health, environmental, and ethical reasons, it leaves the human body with shortages of vitamins and minerals like B-12, D, calcium, and zinc, all of which are for growing strong teeth and healthy gums.
If you’re on a vegan diet, try:
- Taking a daily supplements with 100% DRV of vitamin B-12, calcium, and zinc
- Be sure to get enough sun exposure, which can increase Vitamin D levels.