It’s that time of year again! Millions of people around the world have committed to changing their lifestyle to shed some weight. Did you know that by trying to lose a few pounds, you can actually improve your oral health too? It’s true! When you make smart food choices, watch your portion size and exercise regularly, you can help your mouth AND your waistline. Check out these swap suggestions from the health experts over at MouthHealthy.org to help make a difference on the scale and your smile.
Many people make the mistake of eating out too much because it’s so convenient. The problem here is that you don’t take much time to plan what should be on your plate. To reach your health goals, it’s important to learn how much lean protein, vegetables, grains and dairy your body needs each day. Food is fuel for your body, and the right fuel will you look, feel and function better.
A lot of people use the resources from ChooseMyPlate.gov to help figure out what and how much to eat. If following these guidelines, your plate at each meal should include:
- Fruits and vegetables, which are high in water and fiber, which balance out the sugars they contain and help clean your teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva, which washes away harmful acids and food particles. Your plate should be half full of these goodies.
- Grains, of which most should be whole or low-sugar bread and cereals, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Protein, which include lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. You can also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. These choices are phosphorus-rich, which will help keep your mouth healthy. Proteins also help you feel fuller for longer amounts of time.
- Dairy, preferably low-fat, including milk, cheese and yogurt. These are typically low in sugar, which is great from an oral health perspective. Plus they contain protein and calcium, both of which are good for healthy teeth and gums.
Step away from the soda! I repeat, STEP AWAY FROM THE SODA! Two out of three adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, which some attribute to soda consumption. 1 in 4 Americans consumes at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda. One 20-ounce regular pop has an average of 227 calories, so cutting it from your diet is an easy way to save several calories.
When you think about the effect of soda on oral health, the problem is made even worse. A regular can of soda contains about 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar, which just happens to be how much added sugar the FDA says people over the age of 3 should have throughout the entire day! Instead, reach for water. It contains zero calories and sugar, and will help keep cavities away by rinsing away leftover food while keeping dry mouth at bay.
To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Where you used to grab a cookie or ice cream after dinner to feed your sweet tooth, try substituting sugarless gum. I know, I know…gum is no substitute for ice cream, for something sweet is better than nothing sweet at all, right? Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can reduce your risk of cavities. Plus, it’ll give your body enough time to determine it it’s really still hungry, allowing you to make a better, more thoughtful choice.
While Working Out
While you used to rehydrate with sports drinks while exercising, to meet your new health goals, you can ditch the sugary stuff and replace it with water from the tap. It’s recommended that adults strive to exercise two and a half hours every week. Staying hydrated is important, but sports drinks are often high in calories and added sugar. Water is, by far, the best choice for your body. And water from the tap can help strengthen your teeth with the added fluoride. Fluoride can actually help rebuild weak spots too!
Instead of reaching for the first thing in sight, try to be prepared for snack attacks with healthy options on hand. Chips, crackers and other convenience snacks can easily add more calories than you need. Choices like cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables and nuts will help you feel fuller longer, all while helping your oral health. Plus, by feeling fuller, you’ll snack less, giving your mouth a break from cavity-causing bacteria left behind by leftover food. If nighttime snacking is an issue, try to brush earlier in the evening. A clean mouth might motivate you to say no to those late night cravings.
From all of us at Miami Dental Sedation Spa, we’d like to wish you a very happy New Year! If improving your appearance is on your resolution list, give us shout and find out how improving your smile improves your overall look.