Do you find yourself working long hours and grabbing whatever fast food you can to have at your desk while you work? Do you frequently “binge eat” to satisfy your cravings? What you think of as quick, convenient comfort food might not be so comfortable once you realize what it can do to your teeth and gums. Your dietary habits can strongly influence your dental hygiene.
The Dental Danger of Fatty Foods
It is well known that eating fatty foods, such as burger and fries fast-food fare, can cause weight gain and heart disease. But did you know that a greasy hamburger and fries can also be bad for your oral health? It isn’t just sweets that are bad for your teeth, creating plaque and causing tooth decay and gum disease. Fatty foods, like that fast food lunch you just had at your cubicle, can have the same ugly results.
What Happens When You Eat Fatty and Sugary Foods?
Bacteria always resides in your mouth. The sticky stuff that forms on your teeth, plaque, contains bacteria. This becomes an issue when you leave the bacteria lots of sugar and carbohydrates to feast on. If that happens, they convert those sugars and carbs into acid. If this acid is left on the teeth, it can eat away at tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Chewing sugary gum also causes this to happen. Not being able to brush right away, which may be a problem during the day at work, exacerbates the problem.
The Importance of Iron and D3 for Dental Health
If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you may develop mouth blisters. The iron deficiency may cause anemia, which can also lead to canker sores. A sore tongue and dry mouth may be other dental-related symptoms. Having a dry mouth is also problematic, because saliva is one way to neutralize the acids that destroy your teeth. Being deficient in vitamin B3 (niacin) can also cause mouth sores as well as bad breath. If your gums become red and swollen, that may indicate gingivitis. Therefore, it’s important to get ample niacin and iron in your diet.
Watch What — and How — You Eat
For optimal dental health (and overall health, of course!) carefully monitor what as well as how you eat. Try to avoid binging, and if you need to grab a quick meal while working, make sure it’s as healthy as possible, such as a fresh salad. Ditch the junk food! It’s also a good idea to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste handy at work, so that you can brush after lunch. Here are some additional healthy eating tips:
- If you experience cravings and get the urge to binge eat, find nutritious food items that contain B vitamins, iron and calcium — all are important for healthy teeth.
- After binging, and especially if you can’t brush, rinse out your mouth with water or a sugar-free mouthwash.
- Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water or sucking on sugar-free hard candy. The saliva will help ward against tooth decay.
- Avoid sugary foods, processed foods and starchy foods as much as you can. Add salads and fresh fruits to your diet.
Bon appétit, and enjoy your healthy smile!
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