Many nutritionists consider breakfast the most important meal of the day. As your Aloha family dentist, Dr. Bronitsky also thinks of breakfast as an incredibly important meal, but for slightly different reasons.
For most people, the foods they eat in the morning will stay with them for the majority of the day. After all, if we brush before eating breakfast, as many people on the go do, the longest period of the day we go without brushing is between that very first meal and when we’re heading off to bed.
If we start our day off with a donut, breakfast sandwich, and a peppermint latte, we ingest a lot of sugar and carbs that will remain stuck to our teeth throughout the day. Plaque, a sticky biofilm that grows in the mouth, uses the sugars we consume to produce harmful substances that slowly erode away at our tooth enamel. The longer we allow sugars to remain in the mouth, and the more sugars we eat throughout the day, the more fuel we provide plaque to damage our oral health.
Starting your day off eating this way can also contribute to the development of other health problems as well. An imbalanced diet can upset the delicate equilibrium of your stomach’s microbiome, compromise our immune systems, lead to chronic inflammation, and eventually change the balance of healthy versus bad bacteria in the mouth. Once your mouth features more harmful bacteria than good, you’ve gone well down the path towards an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
So, what should you eat for breakfast and every other meal throughout the rest of the day? What dietary choices make the most sense for helping to protect your teeth and gums? Do you need to give up on sugar and carbs entirely to enjoy quality oral health? Let’s take a look.
Signs of a Healthy Diet
For most patients, a healthy diet will cut down on as many processed carbs and added sugars as possible, especially in the form of soft drinks and fruit juices. These types of beverages contain high levels of acid that can work to weaken tooth enamel and begin the tooth decay process. Additionally, these types of beverages contain huge amounts of sugar, which feeds oral plaque.
If you think that drinking diet sodas will help you to avoid an increased risk of decay, think again. The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas can also damage your healthy gut bacteria, which impacts your overall health, including the health of your mouth.
A healthy diet should contain as few simple carbohydrates and added sugars as possible. This generally means avoiding eating processed pastas, non-whole grains breads, and any type of sugary snack, like donuts, granola bars, and sodas. By replacing these items with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein, patients can not only ensure they enjoy better oral health, but better overall health as well.
Oral Health Friendly Diets
When it comes to diets, no one size fits all. Everyone has their own preference for the types of foods they enjoy, and trying to cut off or limit access to those types of foods can cause people to stray off of their diet.
For patients looking to make significant changes in how they eat, consider one of the popular diets listed below.
- Mediterranean diet: Occasionally referred to as the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean diet consists of high levels of fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, wine, yogurt, and cheese. The diet usually includes low amounts of sweets, fatty meats, and saturated fat.
- Low-carbohydrate diet: A diet that focuses heavily on limiting the intake of sugars and carbs, low-carb diets work to avoid raising blood sugar levels, thereby keeping blood insulin levels low. Low-carb diets are believed to help enable healthy stomachs and strong digestion.
- Carnivore diet: An extreme diet, it excludes all fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. The diet requires you to eat only wild-caught and pastured animals. However, by avoiding all fruits and vegetables, the diet works to eliminate nearly all sugar from the body, as well as anti-nutrients like lectins, oxalates, and phytic acids, which are found in many types of plants and contributes to stomach issues.
Your Aloha Family Dentist is Here to Help
If you have any questions about the best types of diet for your oral health, make sure to ask Dr. Bronitsky during your next appointment. Your Aloha family dentist will happily answer any questions you may have about limiting sugar intake and how to keep your teeth, gums, and gut functioning at their best.