Dental Health – All About Carbs

As dentists we know that foods we eat can either have a positive or negative effect on our dental health. Like the rest of your body, your mouth depends on overall good nutrition to stay healthy. In fact, your mouth is highly sensitive to poor nutrition. At Commack Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons we believe it’s important to understand how carbs impact our oral heath so we can prevent dental damage.

Refined, also known as processed forms of carbohydrates increase the risk of cavities as an enzyme found in saliva breaks them down into simple sugars while they are still in the mouth.  Bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars and produces acids which cause tooth decay. Therefore processed carbs are as bad as candy. It has also been shown that these carbs are bad for gum disease.

Although carbohydrates help fuel the body, too much of the bad kind can increase inflammation—which also happens to be a primary cause of tissue damage related to gum disease. Carbohydrates like sugar or processed items like bakery goods, white rice or mashed potatoes quickly convert to glucose. They enter the bloodstream and increase insulin levels which leads to chronic inflammation and can result in tooth loss.

Research suggests that eating less of these processed carbs is good for oral health.  Researchers have also found that a diet rich in whole grain starches and pastas may lead to a lower risk of cavities, oral cancer and gum disease as unprocessed carbohydrates take longer to digest and convert to glucose which can hamper inflammation.

So although cutting out carbs in your diet is trendy diet advice, it may be wiser to consider a change and instead consume whole grains. Your smile will thank you.

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