Weight loss is the number one New Year’s resolution, which means that this month many people will be picking up a new trendy diet to try to lose weight. But making a diet change can cause you to lose weight in the worst place possible: your teeth. Some diets, like low-carb diets, have benign side effects, but others may be damaging. Here are some things to watch out for to make sure you’re not destroying your teeth while trying to improve your health.
Avoid Juice Cleanses
Juice cleanses are terrible for your teeth, especially the lemon juice cleanse. In this diet fad that refuses to die, your food intake consists almost entirely of a highly acidic beverage. Even diluted, lemon juice can quickly damage your tooth enamel. And with the repeated exposures you are getting throughout the day, even if you rinse your teeth with water afterward, there will likely be significant demineralization of your teeth. And your diet is so nutritionally poor, it’s likely you won’t have the minerals you need to restore the damage.
Worst of all, most of the weight you lose on this type of diet will come right back on.
Make Sure It’s Nutritionally Balanced
Another concern you have to consider about your diet is whether it’s got enough nutrients to support your dental health. Although nutrition alone can't cure cavities, it is an important contributor to keeping your teeth healthy. Calcium intake and vitamin D levels are key here, but there are many nutrients that support your tooth development.
Be Wary of Snacking
Many diets recommend replacing your traditional three-meal-a-day lifestyle with one based on numerous smaller snacks throughout the day. There’s no evidence that this helps weight loss, but there is evidence that it’s bad for your teeth. Snacking throughout the day ensures that oral bacteria have a constant supply of food that they can use to create acid that damages your teeth. If you are going to snack throughout the day, make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterward. Make sure that you don’t brush until about half an hour after consuming acidic or sweet foods.
A Word about Exercise
It’s also common for people to add exercise as part of a New Year’s resolution. This can be for weight loss or health. It’s just important that you don’t overdo it. Too much exercise puts your teeth at risk because it can lead to dehydration–either in general or of the mouth–and acidification of your saliva. Avoid consuming too many sports bars and drinks with your workout, too.