‘We all know that eating healthily is important for our general wellbeing but it is just as important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums’, says Bournemouth Dentist Anthony Inman from Beechwood Dental in Boscombe.
We teach our patients from across Dorset that a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fresh produce will keep them healthy and help prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and can cause bad breath. All sugars cause decay and decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque, leading to cavities and even extractions.
A study in 2011 revealed that obese people (those with a BMI of 30 or more) had a higher proportion of deep gum (periodontal) pockets. According to the British Dental Health Foundation, periodontal pockets are essentially food and plaque traps that irritate and decay teeth to the point where the tooth will eventually fall out: the deeper the pocket, the greater the risk.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “As almost one in four adults in the UK are classed as being obese, and gum disease is recognised as the major cause of tooth loss in adults, there is clearly a significant oral health risk to a large proportion of people.”
Supporting the BDHF, we recommend that patients brush for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and they visit their dentist regularly. We also suggest that people cut down on how often they have sugary foods and drinks. By following these key rules, patients stand a much greater chance of having and keeping healthy gums, and reducing the risk of gum disease, tooth loss and decay.
Studies and experts have pointed to grazing and snacking as a possible cause in the rise of obesity. A team from the University of North Carolina analysed data from food surveys carried out in the United States during the 70s, 80s, 90s and the last decade, and while obesity rose in each, increases in the number of eating occasions and portion size seem to account for most of the change.
Dr Carter added: “Snacking and grazing is becoming an increasing problem, particularly as people are working longer hours. The notion of ‘desk grazing’ might suffice short-term hunger, but it is considerably better for your teeth and general health if you eat three meals a day instead of having seven to ten ‘snack attacks’. If you do need to snack between meals, choose foods such as cheese, breadsticks, nuts or raw vegetables.”
If you would like to speak to us about healthy eating and obesity and its impact on your dental health, please call Beechwood Dental on 01202 397074Return to the Blog page