We all know that the standard American diet isn’t good for your overall health. In particular, fast food is associated with health risks. But what is the impact of the food we eat on our oral health? Does hitting the drive-through every month put your teeth and gums at risk? Yes it does.
Sugar in Everything
Sugar is one of the biggest challenges we face in maintaining our oral health. Sugar is dangerous because it is ready utilized as a fuel by oral bacteria. When these bacteria eat sugar, they excrete acids that can attack your tooth enamel and gum tissue. They can also reproduce, which causes infection to spread and worsen.
Fast food contains a lot of hidden sugars. The sugars are found in the bread, the sauces, the seasonings, and blended in meats. If you are ordering fast food, you are probably consuming a lot more sugar than you think.
Acid Wash It Down
Another problems with fast food is that it encourages you to have a drink with your food, and usually that drink is a soda. A medium fast food cola (21 ounces) contains more sugar than most people add to their coffee all day.
But what if you skip the sugar and get a diet soda? That’s still a problem because sodas are highly acidic. The acid attacks your tooth enamel, dissolving it throughout your mouth. How acidic is soda? A cola is about 1000 times more acidic than is necessary to dissolve tooth enamel. Exposing your teeth to that level of acid every day will remove a lot of your tooth enamel. Because the acid attacks all your teeth at once, soda-related damage usually requires more extensive reconstructive dentistry than that related to tooth decay.
In addition to the high levels of sugar, the fat in fast food contributes to more significant weight gain among people who eat it regular. Weight gain and high sugar consumption can significantly increase your risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing gum disease. And, even worse, if you get gum disease, it can make it harder to control your blood sugar, which can make your diabetes worse.
Reconstructive Dentistry to Fix the Damage
If you have suffered damage to your teeth and gums as a result of a steady diet of fast food, you may need several different types of reconstructive dentistry procedures.
Heavy sugar consumption is likely to lead to cavities. Cavities are minor, localized damage to your teeth and are treated with tooth-colored fillings.
If you drink a lot of soda with your fast food, you’re also likely to suffer from tooth erosion. Tooth erosion impacts many of your teeth, weakening the enamel. This can make more serious tooth damage more likely. You will probably need multiple dental crowns and quite likely some root canal therapy.
But the most serious risks are related to gum disease. If you develop gum disease, you are at an elevated risk for tooth loss, and lost teeth would have to be replaced with dental implants.
But you can also cut down on your risk of damage. First, don’t make fast food an everyday occurrence. Save it for a treat or unusual circumstances. Second, make your regular dental checkups to help protect your teeth.
If you are looking for Westchester County dentist to help maintain your oral health, please call (914) 526-2144 today for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake.