American Diet and How it Affects Oral Health
Sadly the American Diet consists of candies, fruits, fountain drinks, meats, carbohydrates and vegetables and they all have one thing in common, they’re types of foods! Yet they all have different effects on our bodies when we consume them. A typical balanced diet can include most of these foods in moderation, giving us the energy we need to adequately sustain our daily activities! However, most Americans don’t maintain diets that professionals would consider balanced. Studies, such as on the Oral Systemic Link, show that our diet plays a vital role in both our oral and overall health.
Our bodies are complex living organisms, what we eat fuels us so that we have the energy to participate in our daily tasks and routines. The foods we eat matters a lot more than most people think, especially for our oral health. When people think of healthy diets, they think of the benefits they will receive, such as the perfect beach body. However, most people overlook the substantial benefits a balanced diet has on their oral health.
The American Diet and Its Effect on Tooth Decay
It’s true that diets around the globe vary a lot. One notable difference in our diet is that Americans consume the most sugar out of any population in the world! In fact, the average American consumes 150-170 pounds of refined sugar per year. Less than 100 years ago the average American only consumed 4 pounds of sugar per year. This sugar overload is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, which is currently considered the number one chronic illness among American children. It’s not just an issue facing our children, because most American adults have cavities as well. What we eat truly does affect our oral health, especially when it comes to tooth decay. The American diet seems to have a significantly higher sugar intake, as well as more tooth decay. Do you think it’s a coincidence?
What Really Causes Tooth Decay?
The clear, sticky substance that constantly forms on your teeth and gums after eating is called plaque. It contains bacteria that feed solely on the sugars in the food you consume, creating acids that attack your teeth. Over time these acids erode the tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay. This almost sounds like the plot of a bad science fiction movie, but it’s what is actually happening on a microscopic level in our mouths after every meal! It’s no wonder we have such an increase in tooth decay when we look at the amount of sugar we consume in our American diet. A balanced diet really does affect our oral health, just as it does our overall health.
Diet Changes That Make A Health Difference!
Most people who follow the typical American diet would benefit from lowering their daily sugar intake. It’s shocking how many foods we assume contain a healthier amount of sugar, such as raisins and other dried fruits. Reading labels at the grocery store is a quick and surprisingly easy way to lower your daily sugar intake. Be mindful of how much sugar is in the items you purchase and consider healthier alternatives to foods with large amounts. The American Dental Association recommends that you drink plenty of water, this helps to wash way plaque and food debris that cause cavities. Maintaining a balanced diet containing all 5 of the food groups is vital to your oral and overall health. However, diet is only one way you can improve your oral health. Brushing your teeth twice per day and flossing daily are vital to your oral health too.
We believe that everyone should feel comfortable in their own smile! This is why we think it is important to inform our patients about how the American diet can affect their oral health. Maintaining a balanced diet is an easy way for our patients to take an active role in preventing cavities and tooth decay! For more information on improving your diet and oral health, please feel free to contact us.