How Eating Better Can Improve Your Oral Health
At our cosmetic dentistry in Beaverton, Drs. Williams and Truszkowski work hard to keep patients informed about the best practices for enjoying a healthy, great-looking smile.
Approximately 50 percent of all Americans over the age of 30 have developed periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe gum disease directly contributes to the development of systemic inflammation in the body. In addition to threatening the long-term health of our teeth and gums, this type of inflammation can also spread to other parts of the body where it can increase our risk for other systemic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
In addition to practicing quality oral hygiene at home, a patient’s diet is key to helping avoid gum disease and inflammation. It only makes sense that if a diet high in added sugars and starches contributes to poor oral health, then types of diets that actively avoid these types of foods should work to help improve our oral health.
One such diet that some early research has suggested may actually help to prevent gum disease is the Keto diet. Let’s take a look at what this type of diet could mean for the health of your teeth and gums.
What is the Keto Diet
First, for those unaware, let’s take a look at what the Keto diet promotes.
At its essence, the Keto diet is simply a low-carb, low-sugar, high-fat diet that encourages dieters to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein. Reducing the number of carbs you eat causes the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis. When this occurs, the body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. The diet also works to help lower insulin levels in the body, making it easier for dieters to control their blood sugar levels.
Keto Diet & Our Oral Health
So, how does this type of diet help to improve our oral health? Well, it all starts with the low-carb nature of the diet.
Carbs are simply a type of sugar. They may not look and taste like the sugars we get from drinking soda or eating candy, but they have the same effect when it comes to the oral bacteria in our mouths.
Plaque, a sticky biofilm, uses the sugars we consume to produce harmful substances that slowly erode away tooth enamel. Given enough time, plaque attacks can wear down enamel, contributing to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. By starving plaque by avoiding carbs and other types of sugar, you can successfully avoid the primary cause of dental decay and disease.
Keto Diet & Our Breath
When eat start eating less sugar and carbs, and when you replace those items with fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein, your breath becomes fresher as a result.
When plaque starts to decay, it produces a foul odor that can taint the smell of our breath. Obviously, the less plaque we allow to buildup, the less odor the bacteria can cause. Keep in mind, carbs increase bacterial growth in the mouth. So, not only does eating carbs provide plaque with the fuel it needs to damage our teeth and affect our breath, it also enables plaque to grow more quickly.
Finding a Diet That is Right for You
While the Keto diet certainly isn’t right for everyone, the important lesson here isn’t the type of diet you try, but keeping an eye on the types of food you consume.
Whether you try a diet that forsakes all types of carbs or you just start eating more fruits and vegetables while cutting back on carbs, try picking a diet that features less sugar than before.
At cosmetic dentistry in Beaverton, we want to keep patients healthy while smiling their best. So that it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any type of diet.