Research has proven that fast food is not suitable for your health, but do you know it is not good for your oral health either? Fast foods could result in health problems such as diabetes and obesity. But fast foods can also increase your risk of developing tooth cavities and gum disease.
Have you ever ordered a cheeseburger without a soda? No. The sugars and acid present in the soda glass erode your tooth enamel and make them more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.
Your teeth and gums are evidence of the fact – “you are what you eat”. Fast-food combo meals usually contain white bread, high-fat meats, soft drinks, and French fries, all of which create an ideal environment for the cavity, causing bacteria to flourish.
Fast Food and Oral Health, What is the Connection?
1 The combination of simple carbohydrates and high-fat meats ferment in your mouth and leave by-products in the grooves of your teeth. These unreachable areas are challenging to clean and help harmful bacteria to thrive. The toxins produced by the bacteria destroy your enamel and cause tooth cavities and gum disease.
2 Oral bacteria thrive on simple sugar produced in your mouth with foods rich in carbohydrates. The interaction between these oral bacteria and simple sugars creates harsh acids that damage your teeth. As a result, your tooth enamel erodes, leading to tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and more.
3 Added salt is harmful to your oral health. Research on fast foods has indicated that a single fast-food meal contains 1,300 mg of sodium. This quantity of sodium is more than half of the upper recommended limit for a single day. Your teeth rely on calcium to produce structure and strength. A high-sodium diet will cause your body to excrete calcium, which leads to tooth loss and even osteoporosis.
4 Soft Drinks can wear down your tooth enamel. The sugars found in these carbonated drinks will erode the tooth enamel and make them prone to tooth decay and cavities. Can you imagine one 12-ounce can of soda contains 9.75 teaspoons of sugar? That is far more than the American Heart Association recommends for an entire day.
5 Surprisingly, soda adds 156 excess calories to your daily intake. The sugar in soda is linked to various health problems, like diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, and arthritis. Soda is not the only culprit. Other beverages like energy drinks, fruit juice, lemonade, iced tea, coffee drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened waters are harmful to your waistline or for your gum line.
What is the Solution?
Eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining proper oral hygiene are the key to having healthy teeth and gums and overall health.
1 Find Alternatives to Fast Food
If you want to protect your teeth and promote good oral hygiene for yourself and the rest of your family, look for alternatives to junk food. Fresh foods prepared at home are more nutritious, more satisfying, and cost less than eating at a fast-food restaurant.
2 Plan ahead
Plan your meals and snacks well in advance for the week. Try preparing large batches of easy foods like brown rice, beans, roasted vegetables, and salads at home. Use food storage containers to pack up and use them together with lean meat for a nutritious dinner.
Use cut veggies and fruit to have them ready. Eat nuts instead of chips. Boiled eggs and cheese are also great snacks that provide all the calcium and protein you need to strengthen your teeth. If you eat healthy snacks and a good meal, you are far less likely to drive through the window of your favorite fast food joint on your way home.
3 Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Even if you eat fast food, try brushing and flossing your teeth 30 minutes after eating. If you do not have a toothbrush and floss available, rinse your mouth with water and try to chew on sugarless gum. Removing the buildup of food debris in the mouth can limit the harm caused by eating that cheeseburger.
Fast Food is a Big NO for Children
Dental health and oral hygiene play a key role from childhood. If you want your child to have a strong and beautiful smile, no toothache or cavities, then focus on this factor – fast food or junk food.
The more your child is prone to eating junk food, eating out at the junk food joints, or you are in the habit of packing junk food, then stop doing it immediately. Most parents today are either working, have a hectic lifestyle, and hence are too busy with their lives to understand that nutritious food is the most important thing for their child’s overall health and growth.
You might be continuously stopping your child from gorging on chocolates, but you also need to ensure enough nutritious food around for them to eat.
It is true that burgers, fries, pizza, and even ham sandwiches are an easy choice readily available around and even cheaper. But these foods are low in nutritional value and have high sugar content. These foods’ sugary and acidic content erodes your tooth enamel if you consume these fast foods frequently.
The reality is there is actually no harm in bringing junk food home once in a while. But for most parents who find it as an easy alternative, think again! You probably need to care a little more about the dental health of your little child who is in their growing stage.
Besides healthy nutritious food free of fast food, your child needs to be regularly examined by the dentist. At the end of the day, you need to ensure that your child has a daily dose of the right nutrient content in their daily diet.
Effect of Fast Food on Overall Health
In the long run, your poor oral health results in constant dental pain and cavities. Once you have cavities, you might have to avoid hard food such as meat, vegetables, fruits etc. which are actually healthy for your body.
This will result in poor nutrition and let you and your children consume more junk food that is far more comforting to your teeth, such as high sugar beverages. It is a vicious cycle.
Moreover, the consumption of junk food significantly increases your chances of developing serious illnesses over time. These include diabetes and obesity.
In today’s fast world, obesity is a menace. The lack of nutritious food from childhood and exposure to fast food has resulted in poor eating habits and other development problems.
Therefore, it can be concluded that your dental health is important and also for your child. As parents, you need to take precautionary measures in avoiding junk food in your children’s daily food intake.
Fast Food and Tooth Cavities
It is hard to quit snacking on junk food altogether, especially with festival season just around the corner. And it is tough to brush and floss after every snack. So what can you do? It is not necessary to quit snacking on fast food entirely. You can do many things to prevent yourself and your children from ending up at the dental clinic with a cavity or tooth decay right after the festival season.
The main reason that fast food is so bad for you is the abundance of sugar. Most of our favorite junk foods contain loads of sugar – that is why they are called junk food.
If you snack on these kinds of treats and sip on sugary drinks throughout the day, your likelihood of tooth decay will increase. Bacteria found naturally in your mouth feed on the sugars in these treats, which create acids and erode the tooth enamel.
If this tooth decay process continues for a few months, your enamel will start to break down. You might start to see white spots on your tooth, which will slowly darken to a brownish area.
During this process, small holes develop in your teeth as the enamel is weakened. This results in the formation of cavities or dental caries.
If you do not brush or rinse off these sugars, the acid will continue to eat away at the tooth enamel. Thus wearing it down and leading to tooth decay which can finally lead to a root canal procedure with a dental crown.
Fast Food vs. Healthy Diet
You might ask why a healthy diet is important for your oral health? Every time you eat or drink sugary food, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour or even more. This is probably because the sugar you intake reacts with the bacteria in plaque (the sticky coating on your teeth) and chemically produces harmful acid.
So it is important to restrict sugary foods or drinks just at mealtimes. Thereby limiting the amount of time, your mouth is at risk or is under acid attack.
On the contrary, acidic foods and drinks can be equally harmful. The acid wears away or dissolves the enamel, exposing the dentine layer underneath. This can make your teeth sensitive.
If you have a diet rich in minerals, vitamins, and fresh fruit and vegetables can help to prevent gum disease. Gum disease if left untreated can lead to tooth loss and cause bad breath.
Therefore, it can be concluded that your dental health is very important, and you need to take precautionary measures towards avoiding fast food from your daily meals. Moreover, you need to visit your dentist and get your teeth regularly examined, and ensure that you and your family have a daily dose of the right nutrient content in your meals.