Conspiracy Theory Part 2: Your diet may be responsible for more than your weight

One of the things my mother takes pride in, is the fact that she cooks most of the food in her house. In other words, she doesn’t buy a lot of ready-to-eat food at home. That also means food gets cooked in its full nutritional value. And that makes a huge difference, not just in your diet, but in your dental hygiene and health.

So what’s the conspiracy? Refined foods. Available at any store near you. Feel hungry? Grab a cupcake and a can of sweetened aerated beverage or a bag of chips and pack of biscuits. Foods that have been stripped off their true nutrient value and fiber. Food that is so sweet, it could provide sugar for an entire classroom. Foods that get so sticky – there is no way they are going anywhere with a simple mouth rinse.

I’ve had parents trying to get me to tell their children, that they shouldn’t eat chocolates. But in reality, will staying away from chocolates alone keep your teeth free from cavities? Unknown to many, all sugary and sticky foods are good at lodging in the hard-to-clean areas. Sweetened drinks are equally to blame since they can access any corner of the mouth. And in the process of relishing these drinks we swirl them around in our mouths, all the while, exposing them to other areas of the teeth.

Imagine this scenario – you’ve had a nice, sumptuous dinner followed by a rich dessert. Shortly after this, you hit the bed, maybe without even rinsing your mouth. This is what happens – as you sleep, the flow of saliva decreases. As you areĀ  not active, there isn’t anything to stimulate a fresh flow of saliva. And all those foods remain adherent to your teeth overnight. That gives the bacteria, plenty of food to act on and break down into acids. You won’t notice any changes overnight. But watch out for cavities (caries) in the long run.

A word of advice to those whose salivary flow is comparatively low. Saliva plays a major role in preventing caries. Certain medications like atropine, can make salivary flow to decrease as well. So whenever you feel your mouth is dry or dehydrated, remember to immediately refresh yourself with some water. Salivary replacements are also available. Contact your dentist if you feel you may be having dental problems as a result of your salivary flow.

I read this article in the Times of India this morning about “Right diet fixes all dental problems“. It’s a great article about how refined carbs can cause harm by getting stuck in between your teeth. But just before the article gets over, the reporter makes a statement, which if taken seriously, can cause greater dental harm. He writes, “After eating a citrus fruit, do no rinse for at least 30 minutes.” That is plain wrong.

Citrus fruits are acidic in nature. Other foods that can be acidic include pickles and beverages like sports drinks and certain soft drinks. Yes, acidic foods can cause a fresh influx of saliva (which the article states is good for suppressing bacterial growth). But most of the time, we savour these drinks in our mouths or sip them slowly over time, causing them to remain in contact with tooth surfaces for longer. During this time the pH level of saliva, already present in the mouth, becomes more acidic. This alters their buffering capacity that can lead to demineralization of the tooth enamel. So it is imperative that you rinse your mouth or flush the acids down with water.

What the journalist should have said is – you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after having acidic drinks or foods. Why? Because the acids in your mouth would have caused demineralization and brushing immediately after, causes abrading away of the tooth enamel.

Coming back to our conspiracy theory, what can you do to protect your teeth? I know, keeping away from those donut stands, coffee bars and chocolates is not the solution. But when you are done eating and drinking, make it a habit to rinse your mouth thoroughly. And remember to brush and floss every morning and night.

Conspiracy Theory Part 1: why we brush our teeth?

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image