- June 9, 2015
A lot of thought is given these days to what diet is the healthiest, and what foods are the best to eat, but most of the focus goes on weight gain and heart health, which are obviously important. But how much thought have you given to the effects certain “healthy” foods have on your teeth?
For example, dietary fiber has long been recommended as a part of a healthy diet that will help you lose weight and and fight diabetes and digestive ailments, like constipation. But what you may not be aware of is fiber’s ability to help protect you from tooth decay and gum disease.
Here at Holly Dental Care, our passion is keeping the people of Holly, MI healthy and looking great, and in order to take care of your health, you’ll need a strong set of teeth that will allow you to chew healthy foods high in dietary fiber.
Types of Fiber
The two types of dietary are soluble, which breaks down in water, and insoluble, which does not. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance that provides health benefits throughout your body, while insoluble fiber forms clumps that push food and waste through your digestive system, helping your gut stay healthy and clean.
Natural Sources of Dietary Fiber
Soluble Fiber can be found in various fruits and vegetables, like apples, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, and carrots, as well as nuts, flaxseeds, beans, and oatmeal.
Insoluble fiber is readily found in wheats wheats, grains, and bran, as well as most fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens are especially good sources of insoluble fiber, not to mention other important nutrients, like calcium.
How Fiber Helps
Healthy Heart – Studies have shown that diets high in fiber, especially soluble fiber, can reduce your likelihood of heart disease and high blood pressure by 40%. A study from Harvard University from a few years ago also shows that men and women who eat plenty of foods high in dietary fiber exhibit higher levels of good cholesterol.
Healthy Gut – Both soluble and insoluble fiber are vital to keeping your digestive system healthy and regular. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is an increasingly common digestive ailment theses days, characterized by irregular bowel activity and abdominal pain, is effectively treated by eating foods high in fiber. In fact, studies have shown that those with high fiber diet are 40% less likely to develop diverticulitis, an inflammation of the bowel.
Healthy Blood Sugar – High fiber diets are especially effective at regulating blood sugar. Soluble fiber slows your body’s absorption of sugar, which helps prevent weight gain and diabetes. According to the Harvard study mentioned above, a diet low in fiber will increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by two.
Healthy Teeth and Gums – When it comes to oral health, the great thing about eating high fiber foods is that they typically require a good amount of vigorous chewing. Saliva is your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay and gum disease, and when you chew vigorously you stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth. The saliva produced by chewing will help keep food particles from sticking to your teeth, but most importantly, saliva contains antibacterial properties that will directly fight the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.
The Dietary Fiber/Oral Health Cycle
For better or worse, the health of your teeth and your ability to eat foods high in dietary fiber are inextricably linked. Eating foods that are high in fiber helps protect your teeth, in order to to eat high fiber foods, you need healthy teeth. That means if your ability to chew is weakened by unhealthy or missing teeth, then your teeth are more likely to suffer more decay because you can not eat healthy foods.
The point being, it is much harder to protect your oral health if you already have issues with tooth decay. So, be sure to stay on top of your oral health by coming to our office in Holly for regular cleanings and examinations. We will not only be able to keep your smile clean and healthy, we will be able to catch the earliest signs of decay and treat it while it is still relatively easy to do so. The longer you go without treating tooth decay, the harder it is to recover.
Contact Holly Dental Care today to make an appointment.