People diet for a variety of reasons-from fitting back into their favorite dress to reaching a healthier, more sustainable BMI. Whatever your reason, you need a diet that will help you manage your weight but cause the fewest negative side effects.
Diet plays a key role in keeping your smile healthy and bright. Here are three fad diets you should avoid for the sake of your oral health.
1. Juice Cleanses
All-juice diets seem to make a lot of sense. Fruits and vegetables are vital to a healthy diet, so what could be healthier than a juice diet? But juice cleanses, made famous by celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Janice Dickinson, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Most people use juice cleanses as a means to detoxify their digestive system. When you only consume juice, however, you don’t get the fiber and nutrients your body needs to keep your hair, nails, skin, and teeth looking healthy. Juice, especially from fruit, is also high in acid and sugar, and can damage your teeth in the following ways:
- Enamel Damage: Juice can harm your enamel just like soda does-it stains and weakens your teeth.
- Stability Loss: Low-calorie diets affect your body’s insulin levels, which over time can lead to problems with your natural collagen. Collagen fibers hold your teeth in place, so weakened fibers may eventually cause tooth loss.
- Bacteria: Bacteria feed on both natural and artificial sugars. Excess sugar on your teeth can cause decay and cavities.
Tooth-friendly Solution: According to nutrition experts, your digestive system doesn’t need to detoxify. Instead of juicing, try to implement a long-term plan in which you consume a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables in their whole form. The occasional glass of juice is fine, but avoid building your diet around juice.
If you do decide to prescribe to a juice cleanse for a couple days, drink through a straw to minimize contact the juice makes with your teeth. You should brush your teeth before juicing, but never immediately after drinking juice. The acid in juice softens your enamel, and scrubbing this acid into your teeth with your toothbrush could damage your teeth.
2. Raw Food Diets
A-listers like Scarlett Johansson have attributed their weight control to diets composed mostly of raw foods. Like juice diets, raw food diets seem to make sense. Eating raw food can help you get all the nutrients you need but allow you to avoid unhealthy preservatives and chemicals. But, raw food diets can also ruin your teeth.
The potential for damage comes from the high amount of fruit, nuts, or seeds in raw food diets. The sugar in fruit can lead to tooth decay, as previously mentioned. Similarly, seeds can get stuck in your teeth and encourage bacteria growth.
decay, as previously mentioned. Similarly, seeds can get stuck in your teeth and encourage bacteria growth.
In 2012, German scientists studied 130 individuals who consumed at least 95% raw foods as part of a vegan diet. The study found that these individuals had a higher risk of dental erosion. In fact, 60.5% of the raw foodists had at least one severely eroded tooth, as compared to 31.6% in the control group.
Tooth-friendly Solution: Raw foods like almonds, apples, and spinach can be great for your teeth and your waistline in moderation. Just be sure to take care of your dental hygiene and eat a balanced diet.
Follow the juice cleanse tips to avoid problems caused by natural sugars. To combat the damage from nuts and seeds, chew sugar-free gum or floss after your snack.
3. Small Meals
Dieticians and celebrities alike recommend the “diet” of eating several small meals throughout the day. Ashley Hebert (of The Bachelorette fame) prescribes to this method to keep her figure.
Individuals who eat 6 to 8 meals a day instead of 3 tend to eat less fat, healthier carbs, and more fruits and veggies. These “grazers” are more likely to have a low body fat percentage as well.
One problem associated with this approach is that teeth are vulnerable to damage for up to an hour after you eat. The more often you eat during the day, the more time your teeth will be susceptible to damage. Even if you’re eating healthy snacks and small meals, your enamel may wear over time if you eat too frequently without caring for your teeth between meals.
Tooth-friendly Solution: Eating several small meals throughout the day can be a great way to manage your weight. Make it a great way to strengthen your smile by taking the following precautions:
- Implement a Consistent Hygiene Routine: The more often you eat, the more important it is to protect your teeth. Brush at least twice a day, but never right after eating.
- Swish: Instead of brushing, swish with water or a solution of water and baking soda after you eat to dislodge food particles and prevent cavities.
- Eat Well: Be conscientious of the foods you eat. If you’re eating unhealthy snacks, you won’t lose any weight, and you may put your teeth at risk for decay.
If you are unsure how your diet affects your oral health, consult with your dentist.
Whether you’re sticking to your diet to feel confident in your swimsuit or to improve your overall health, your diet affects more than your waistline. When dieting, be sure the foods you eat will benefit your entire body.