Did you know that about 50% of women are on a diet at any given time?
It’s not just women who take part in the diet craze – approximately 90% of teenagers have tried some diet at one time or another as well. As Americans, we’re constantly seeing images of shredded ideal body types designed to encourage people to get fit.
One type of diet that has led millions of people to achieve their weight loss goals is the low carb diet. Specifically, diets like keto, paleo, and Atkins all follow this low carb, high fat format. While their weight loss credentials have been established, it’s worth wondering how these dietary changes would affect your teeth. Explore the following ways that a diet low in carbohydrates can yield significant benefits for your smile.
The most reputable diets out there call for a serious decrease in carb consumption, but why? Carbohydrates are one of the three major macronutrients and our bodies are designed to burn them, in the form of glucose, for energy. The most common foods that are rich in carbohydrates include all types of bread, starchy veggies like potatoes, and most sweet foods. Effective modern diets work on the principle that carbs are responsible for weight gain, not fats.
Carbs Break Down Into Sugar
When you eat bread, cereal, or anything starchy, the carbohydrates break down to sugar, which easily sticks to your teeth. While many breads contain some useful nutrients, all of them supply your body with calories that are either burned as glucose or turned to stored fat.
Why a Low Carb Diet Like Keto is Excellent for Your Teeth
Low carb diets minimize the carbs you consume for weight loss purposes, but they’re also much better for your oral health. The reason is simple: Many foods that contain fat or protein are good for your teeth, whereas refined starchy carbohydrates break down to sticky sugars, and can lead to decay and cavities. By simply adopting a mindset of avoiding these high carb, high sugar foods, you can significantly improve your smile.
But Don’t You Need Carbs for Energy?
Not necessarily. Anyone who has followed the keto diet knows that you can train your body to burn ketones rather than glucose, resulting in more weight loss and energy and less exposure to sugars that can damage your teeth. The foods you eat don’t have to be limited or unappealing, either. Many of the same snacks you would normally eat and even low carb protein bars are also available with sweeteners like monk fruit or xylitol instead.
How Does Your Diet Impact Your Oral Health?
Whatever you eat not only impacts your muscle and waistline but your teeth as well. Whether you follow a low carb diet or not is a personal decision, but developing the habit of eating fresh foods that won’t cause tooth decay is one of the greatest things you can do for your smile. If you’re experiencing a dental problem or are ready for your next biannual appointment, don’t hesitate to contact Drs. Fleming, Elam, or Vaughn at the Dentistry of Nashville today!