Did you know that over one third of American kids eat fast food at least once a day? That is a startling statistic, but not all that surprising. With a fast-food restaurant on every corner, and an increasingly hectic schedule, many people find themselves hitting the drive-through as opposed to preparing fresh food at home.
It’s no secret that consuming fast food has led to health problems, like obesity and diabetes, but did you realize that it can wreak havoc on your oral health too? Here are some examples of how eating out can impact your teeth and gums.
- Fast food contains a massive amount of salt and sugar, both of which create a slew of health issues in excess. These types of food have a tendency to stick to teeth, leaving a buildup of acids behind. It’s this acid that eventually causes tooth decay and cavities.
- Soda is almost always the drink of choice at your local fast food joint. This extremely acidic carbonated beverage can break down enamel of the teeth, making them more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.
- Regular consumption of fast food can increase the risk of developing diabetes, which has been linked to oral disease. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from diabetes are more prone to developing periodontal disease. For those who already have diabetes, maintaining good blood glucose control is critical in preventing its impact on oral health.
It’s understandable that fast food is the best/only option sometimes, but with the detrimental effects it can have on your oral and overall health, you should try to cut back as much as possible. When you do have to hit the drive-thru, consider choosing an option that is better for your health, like salads and other fresh foods. If you can, avoid soda and other carbonated beverages. You can even save money by switching to water. Fortunately, more and more restaurants are providing healthier options on their menus.
Finally, whether you eat out or at home most often, if it always recommended to practice proper oral hygiene habits to achieve and maintain the best oral health as possible. Always brush and floss, especially about 30 minutes after finishing a fast food meal. If you don’t have a toothbrush available, chew on sugarless gum to help wash away any unwanted bacteria. The bottom line is that while it’s perfectly ok to consume fast food in moderation, be mindful of your selections and always keep your teeth as clean as possible. Your smile (and waistline) will thank you!