Which diet did you choose?

Don't get caught up in the quick diet fix!

Trendy Diets and Oral Health

Health is nearly always top of the list for people wanting to better themselves in some way. Weight loss in particular remains a popular goal for most and this is a common time of year for people to go on a post-holiday season purge and commit themselves to the latest trendy diet being followed. 

What many do not realise when attempting to restrict their food consumption, is that some fad dieting plans can lead to potential harm and negative dental and overall health consequences. The affects on the body are obvious if fasting is not monitored and carried out carefully - sudden and drastic weight loss has been linked to gallstones, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances, alongside headaches, fatigue, hair loss and muscle loss.

Liquid cleanses, Atkins or Paleo, vegan or raw diets are also all detrimental to oral health. Everything we eat and drink has a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay depending upon the form of the food, frequency of intake, the sugar and acidic content, nutritional makeup, combination of foods and the patient's medical conditions.

In a recent article, Mobley provides information on the impact of liquid cleanses, low-carb and vegan diets on oral health and the steps that can be taken to counteract the side effects. Mobley believes that dental professionals are becoming more attuned to the connection between nutrition and oral health, but patients need help to understand the association too. Dental professionals are ideally placed to educate patients and as the mouth is the body's initial point of contact with the nutrients consumed, often the first signs of poor nutrition are in the oral cavity.

What can we do?

Dental professionals should inform patients on the negative effects of trendy weight loss diets on oral health, as well as advising individuals to limit snacking between meals, keep sugar to a minimum and include dairy, plenty of vegetables and water in their diets.

Effective oral routine adjuncts such as the Waterpik® Water Flosser can help to remove debris and dental plaque from the oral cavity and can go a long way in keeping the teeth and gingiva healthy when patients change their diets.

A balanced, nutritious diet is essential to healthy living and oral wellbeing. Dental professionals are well placed to educate patients on the negative consequences of fad diets and recommend products to help maintain optimal oral health to reduce the potential negative consequences. So whatever diet trends among your patients this New Year, it's crucial to remind them of the possible dangers and help them avoid problems with their dental health.