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How diet and drink fads can damage your oral health.

I read a great article in the January 2014 issue of AGD Impact called “Damaging Diets, How Weight Loss Fads and Popular Health Drinks Can Hurt Teeth” written by Claire Altschuler. The magazine was kind enough to send me a PDF of the file for use via our website –> Jan14_DamagingDiets from Impact AGD If any of you reading this blog post happen to be members of the Academy of General Dentists, you can also look it up on their website at www.agd.org. I’m going to add a little preamble here because the article hit home, but feel free to skip my words and link directly to their PDF file above.

Before reading the article I was already sure I wasn’t alone in making one of my goals for 2014 to improve my overall health through diet and exercise. What I didn’t know was that, according to sources in the article, the number 1 New Year’s resolution in 2012 and 2013 was weight loss and further, that $60 billion + was spent in the US alone on weight loss products in 2011.

It’s not very sexy when someone asks what I’m doing to improve my diet and I reply, “I’m eating less, cutting out sugars and drinking more water.” This regimen is not sexy, easy or delicious. If it was easy I’d just do it, right? I’ve had to recommit to it again and again. And it isn’t delicious, unless you consider that smaller portions, maybe even glasses of water, taste better when I’m not stuffed full of potato chips and chocolate. Any diet that seems too easy is usually too good to be true.

The article talks primarily about liquids, including the juicing fad, sports and energy drinks, diet sodas and even water. Hold it, “Water?” you ask? Yes water…that has been flavored and carbonated to make it interesting enough for us to drink. “What’s the culprit?” you ask? Acids are the primary concern, but just as bad is the fact that many people do an all day sip on the diet sodas, energy and sports drinks, cleanses, juices, smoothies and shakes. When we do have water it has to be lemon flavored fizzy water…or lime or orange. We’re effectively bathing our mouths in acidity all day long.

Have you ever squeezed a lemon, lime or orange in your eye? Don’t try it. It doesn’t feel as good as spraying water in your eyes does because citrus is acidic. Of course your teeth are a little tougher than your eyeballs, but the point is still the acidity. It can cause staining, erosion, demineralization, tooth structure loss, sensitivity and cavities.

That’s all interesting, but what about a drink that will give you a little boost or energy or solid nutritional value? Try black coffee, plain green tea or a glass of milk. You say you want something to sip that’s healthy and makes you feel like your stomach isn’t so empty? Why not get wild and “gasp” turn on the cold water tap for a glass of refreshing, pure water.

Ms. Altschuler’s article was a lot more detailed and rigorous than my little blog post based on it. If you want to see the original I again suggest you open the linked PDF file. Robin also has a copy at the front desk. Ask to see it the next time you are in getting you teeth cleaned.