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  • Dr Vyla Ellis

Can Healthy Eating be Bad for your Dental Health?


It sounds ridiculous doesn't it? How could healthy eating possibly be bad for your teeth? The truth is that it shouldn't be, however we often see patients who are making positive food choices and see their dental health suffer because of it. Today we look at how to maintain a healthy diet without compromising your smile.

What are the Common Dental Problems?

Healthy diets often contain hidden sugars and acid. This can lead to high rates of decay and loss of the outer layer of the tooth - dental erosion. The other common complaint is bad breath.

Low Carb Diets can cause Bad Breath

Glucose derived from carbohydrates is the most typical energy used by the body. In low carb diets glucose is restricted and as such the body uses fat as an energy source. This produces ketones which in turn cause bad breath. The other cause of bad breath in a low carb diet is proteins. Often carbohydrates are replaced in part with an increase in protein consumption. As the body breaks down protein it produces ammonia which can also cause bad breath. If your diet is the cause of bad breath, no amount of tooth brushing, flossing or mouth rinsing will improve the situation. In these cases the introduction of a small amount of carbohydrates may resolve the problem without causing waistline issues.

Acidic Food and Drink can Erode your Teeth

Tooth erosion can cause tooth sensitivity and shortened teeth. Common health foods that are acidic include:

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Kombucha

  • Lemon water

  • Soda water

  • Sports drinks

  • Fruit juice

  • Citrus: oranges, mandarins, lemons

  • Tomato

It is best to eliminate or minimise consumption of these. If you chose to consume them it is best to have them at meal times or follow up with a mouthful of plain water to wash away the acid.

Eating Natural Sugars

In an attempt to cut back on sugar we often revert to natural sugars to satisfy our sweet cravings. Keep in mind that to teeth sugar is sugar and all sugars cause tooth decay. If you enjoy the following common health foods, which contain sugar, these are best kept to a minimum. Snacking on these throughout the day will increase your risk of decay as the teeth are under constant attack from the sugar. Anything that gets stuck in your teeth is also a high risk for decay as the sugar sticks around which gives it more time to cause damage

  • Honey

  • Dried fruit

  • Fruit juice

  • Yoghurt

  • Sports drinks

Sweet treats are best kept to meal times or eaten all at once instead of throughout the day. Minimising sticky sweets will make a big difference to your teeth.

Using a Natural or Fluoride Free Toothpaste

We respect that some people chose not to use fluoride. We will help you with other methods to protect the teeth.

For those of you who may be undecided or have no issue with fluoride, please keep in mind that fluoride is our best defence against decay and is safe when used appropriately. Be cautious about changing to a natural toothpaste as these are usually fluoride free. Using a fluoride free toothpaste will automatically increase your risk of decay.

As healthy as your diet may be please ensure that you keep up with regular dental checks. No one can check their own teeth - not even a dentist!

#food #drink #health #prevention #teeth #sugar #acid #fluoride #badbreath #erosion #decay #naturalsugar

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