Happy friends

By Dr. Lavonne Fore

With the New Year upon us, many people are gearing up to finally achieve their New Year’s resolution of getting into shape. And while there are plenty of benefits of exercising and making changes to your diet, it’s important to proceed with caution. Certain diets can have significant effects on your teeth, so it’s crucial to be prepared.

Low-Calorie Diet

According to “The Skinny on Dieting and Your Teeth” from Delta Dental, one of the most common methods people try when attempting to lose weight is altering their diet to consume fewer calories. While cutting out excess calories and eating more balanced food portions is a great way to get into shape, it’s very important to approach cutting calories very carefully. Consult with a physician to determine how many calories to consume for your weight, age, and body type so you don’t end up becoming malnourished.

Consuming too few calories will cause problems on all fronts, including your energy levels, immune system, mental health, and your oral health. Malnutrition can lead to severely weakened jaw bones, softened enamel, and receding gums. So in addition to a host of other issues, malnutrition leaves you vulnerable to tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw pain.

Ketogenic Diet

Many people swear by this fad diet, but the jury is still out on whether or not it is beneficial to your oral health. The intention behind the ketogenic diet, which cuts out carbohydrates, is to get the body to start burning fat instead of carbs, a process known as ketosis. However, this process is known to cause bad breath, or halitosis, which is unpleasant to those around you.

On the other hand, carbs bring bacteria into the mouth that cause acid and plaque. In “the Oral Health Effects of the Keto Diet,” Today’s RDH says limiting your intake of carbs may decrease the bacteria level in your mouth and reduce your risk of cavities due to weakened enamel and plaque.

Diet Pills

Be cautious of diet pills or any supplements that claim to result in weight loss. Many diet pills simply suppress appetite to get people to consume fewer calories. In addition to the risks that come with malnutrition, diet pills also inhibit the production of saliva in your mouth. Having a healthy amount of saliva is crucial for keeping your mouth chemically balanced and for washing away food particles and bacteria. Because of this, low levels of saliva can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Fruit Detox

This is another fad diet to be careful with. The idea is to consume only fruits and vegetables for a week to help cleanse your body, but it puts you at risk for malnutrition. In addition to the risks of taking in too few calories, the American Dental Association in “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth” reminds us that consuming an abnormally high amount of certain types of fruit, and the high acid content that comes with it, can weaken your enamel and increase your chances of tooth decay.

If your plan is to become more fit for the New Year, be sure to stick to a balanced diet of lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, and green vegetables, and get some regular exercise. Not only is exercise great for overall health, but it is also known to strengthen your gums.

If you have any questions about eating or playing sports with braces, feel free to contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists today!