Fast food restaurants are everywhere. When you have a busy schedule, it’s very easy to hit the drive-through and pick something up rather than prepare something fresh at home. You already know the effect fast food can have on your body. Did you know it can also increase your chances of developing cavities and gum disease?
At the office of Tab A. Boyle, DDS, we know. We’ve treated a lot of dental issues that happened as a result of poor diet and poor oral hygiene.
There’s an old saying that goes “You are what you eat.” Fast food can lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. It can also cause problems in your mouth.
Salt, Sugar, and Carbohydrates
The primary reason fast food is so bad for our teeth is that it’s very starchy and contains added salt and sugar. Tooth decay happens when plaque comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, which causes acid to attack the teeth.
Fermentable carbohydrates (found most often in crackers, cookies, and chips) are common in junk foods. They present the perfect opportunity for those cavity-causing acids to take over your mouth.
What You Drink
When you get fast food, you’re likely to order a drink. Fast food places are not known for their healthy drink options. Soda and bottled iced tea are some of the worst offenders in oral health, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. They’re filled with empty calories, sugar, and flavor additives.
Fast Food And The Fast Pace
When you go through the drive-through to pick up lunch, you might even eat it while you’re driving. That means you might not be able to brush your teeth soon after the meal. The food debris from fast food is more likely to stick to your teeth, which causes tooth decay and cavities.
Your Overall Health
Lastly, most fast food and junk food is highly processed. Their ingredients increase the Glycemic Index and make food more likely to cause cavities. Carbohydrates with a high GI value can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, which is not good.
If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it could be more difficult for the tissues in your mouth to resist infection. That, in turn, could lead to gum disease. Severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in patients.
Eating fast food on a regular basis can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Studies have shown that people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.
Lifestyle Changes To Make
If you care about your overall health and the health of your teeth and gums, think before you eat and drink. Try to eat a balanced diet that doesn’t contain a lot of sugar and carbs and limit your between-meal snacks.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for good dental health when choosing your meals and snacks:
- Drink plenty of water. Sodas are really bad for your teeth because there is a lot of acid in them. Acid can reduce the surface of your tooth enamel.
- Eat foods from the five major food groups, including:
lean proteins ( lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes)
low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
Let’s face it, it’s hard not to snack sometimes. If you do snack, choose something healthier than a bag of chips and a soda. Try a piece of fruit or a vegetable.
When you snack, your mouth produces less saliva than it would during a regular meal. Since saliva helps wash food from the mouth, having less of it can harm teeth and tooth decay.
Be sure to brush twice a day and to use a good fluoride toothpaste. In addition, one of the best things you can do to ensure the health of your teeth is to schedule regular cleanings. That way, we can keep your teeth from developing tartar and can stay ahead of any developing issues we see.
At the office of Tab A. Boyle, DDS, we can get you on the right track to healthier teeth. Get started on your oral health today! Give us a call at 661-524-8457 to set up an appointment.You can also use our online form to schedule an appointment, ask questions, or leave comments. We love hearing from our patients.