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Diets criticised as bad for oral health

Health-conscious people commonly attempt diets in a bid to improve their eating habits, lose weight and become healthier in general. However, most typically this health is limited to losing weight. There is nothing wrong with this as a goal; in fact, most dentists would be happy to encourage weight loss. However, many people are forgetting about their teeth.

The problem comes not from general dieting, but from so-called ‘fad’ options. These diets are often excellent for weight loss, but they can have an extremely negative impact on oral health. Most people are unaware of this, but it is likely they would rethink their dietary choices if they knew the harm it was doing their teeth.

On of the main offenders is the juice diet and its many variants. This involves swapping out some or all of a person’s meals with fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. It can help shed weight, as fruit and vegetables contain next to no fat. However, it can harm teeth.

Fruit juice is full of a sugar called fructose. Dr Sameer Patel, clinical director at specialist dental and orthodontic practice elleven, said the substance is “a common cause of cavities as the bacteria in the mouth feed on it”. Typically, fruit juice is also acidic. This contributes further to tooth decay, eroding the enamel in the mouth.

Dr Patel recommends drinking these juices through a straw so as little juice as possible touches the teeth. It is also necessary to wait at least half an hour before brushing teeth after drinking, as doing so too soon can lead to the weakened enamel being scrubbed off. Instead, it might be a good idea to drink water straight after juice, to wash the sugar and acid away.

The key thing to remember is that fad diets are not good for every aspect of the body’s health, as they are typically designed purely to lose weight. Those looking to take up one of these diets needs to be aware of the harm it could do to their teeth and how to prevent that.

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