You must have everyone say that junk food is associated with health problems. You must also have heard that junk food is directly responsible for heart diseases. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the damage that consumption of junk food can do to your smile and your overall health.
Believe it or not, your dental health is directly or indirectly affected by junk food. You might ask – how does it affect your oral hygiene if you brush and floss regularly?
The answer is, that regular brushing and flossing are not sufficient to prevent the damage from eating junk food. Furthermore, brushing cannot clean your mouth completely, especially the back of your teeth. They only assist you in maintaining your dental hygiene.
Almost every junk food and beverage that you intake has an oral health issue associated with it. If you limit the amount of these types of foods and drinks, you help your overall health, but decrease your risk of serious dental health issues.
Do you know that frequent fast food consumption will completely ruin your teeth? The adverse effects of junk foods on your dental health are more than you can even imagine. Today we take a close-up look at the dental health issues you might encounter by eating sugar-laden junk food.
Effect of Junk Food on Dental Health
1 Dry fruit have added sugar
Dry fruits and even junk food, unlike fresh fruits, have added sugar in them. As you know, sugar is very harmful to your teeth primarily because it works like a bacteria magnet.
All fruits have a certain level of sugar content. Hence, this added amount of sugar does more harm to your teeth than it should. Hence your doctor will advise you to eat fresh fruits rather than dry ones.
The same is the case with all kinds of donuts, cupcakes, chocolates, and candies. Added sugar and preservatives form an integral part of candies, which could be dangerous for your dental health.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults should only consume not more than 22-32 grams of added sugar in a day. But many of us regularly exceed that limit unknowingly. Hard candies and most gummies contain high fructose corn syrup, which is unhealthy for your teeth and overall health.
2 Starch is bad for your teeth
How often do you have that burger with some french fries and the large pizza you crave to have every week – what is common in them? Yes, they are all delicious. Unfortunately for your teeth, they are both high on starch content.
Starchy food sticks to the surface of your teeth and stays there for a long time. But if you do not brush and floss adequately after eating fast food, the food particles settle in your mouth.
This means that it is a feast for the bacteria in your mouth. These bacterial concentrations will start to feed on the starches leading to an oral infection, and eventually, tooth decay and cavity.
If there are bacterial settlements in your teeth for longer periods, it will result in plaque on teeth and tartar. Which will give way to gum disease, known as gingivitis. Will you still crave that burger and pizza?
3 Carbonated drinks damage your enamel
Easily available carbonated drinks, especially soda pops, are harmful to your teeth. Since they cause damage to your tooth enamel, you must consume them in limited quantities.
Sodas are loaded with sugars, and hence they have a negative effect on your oral health as they are high in calories and low in nutritional value.
Carbonated drinks are highly acidic in nature, meaning they have a pH of less than 7. In simple terms, acidic food plays a role in eroding and wearing down the teeth’ enamel. This makes your teeth prone to erosion, as well as tooth decay.
4 The added sugar and salt in every fast food item
Today most fast food companies are concerned about delivering the best-tasting food to your doorstep. They hardly hesitate to add salt and sugar in good proportion until the food tastes perfect to serve this propose.
The high level of salt and sugar makes your food stick to your teeth. As a result, you develop tooth decay and cavities.
Food items with a high amount of sugar and salt are more likely to stick to your teeth. This food debris which is acidic in nature, slowly builds up along the surface of your teeth. Eventually, it will cause the enamel to erode and the tooth cavities will start to affect the roots of your teeth.
Commonly Dental Problems Linked with Junk Food
As you already know, – fast-paced life and tight schedule make you choose junk foods over home-cooked fresh foods. Fast foods like pizzas, french fries, sandwiches, and chips have reserved an important place on most of your plates.
You know processed food items are never the healthiest option because they contain additives in them that are quite toxic and bad for your health.
For instance, the large number of carbohydrates, sodium, and unhealthy fatty compounds found in processed foods tend to cause weight gain. Moreover, if you are a junk food consumption, you are highly at the stake of developing heart diseases, diabetes, and various life-threatening diseases.
1 Erodes the teeth enamel
Fast foods and carbonated drinks contain acidic compounds like acrylamide, amino acids, and phosphoric acids. If you consume these compounds frequently, it will cause nausea, indigestion, heartburn, etc.
These acidic junk foods tend to wear down your enamel layer and eventually erode the tooth enamel. In addition, it slowly unveils the underlying soft tissues causing severe complications. As a result, cosmetic procedures like dental veneers are the only option for repairs. Any bacterial infection on tissues underneath your enamel is irreversible and hard to treat.
The pH values of some food and drinks can help determine if they are good to consume. The more acidic your food is, the lower is the pH number.
Any food with a pH value lower than 5.5 is likely to cause erosion. On the contrary, alkalis have a high pH number. They also neutralize the acid effects of sugars on your teeth. pH 7 is neutral, in between acid and alkali.
Frequent consumption of acidic food and beverages is responsible for causing dental erosion. Erosion is a process of gradual dissolving of the tooth enamel.
Mineral water has pH 7.6, milk has pH 6.9, cheddar cheese has pH 5.9, orange juice has pH 3.8, grapefruit has pH 3.3, pickles have pH 3.2 – are a few food items commonly consumed.
2 They are too sticky, causing plaque
Junk food contains starch that makes it tasty and delicious and more sticky too, hence should be avoided. After a meal, the leftover debris sticks to your stuck over the teeth surfaces and gets lodged between the gaps in your teeth. They reside there until you brush and clean your teeth.
Hence, dentists recommend brushing and flossing your teeth immediately after having junk food to minimize the harmful impact.
Else this debris will feed up the oral bacteria in your mouth to accumulate over your teeth’ surface. Thus forming plaque build-up and tartar. In the long term, it will provoke gum diseases, bad breath, etc.
3 Excessive sugar causes tooth cavities
Sugar-laden junk food and carbonated drinks like soda act as catalysts for oral infection. The microbes fee don the sugary compounds to produce acids. These acids then act on your surface and damage the enamel and also cause tooth cavities.
On the other hand, consuming sweetened substances impacts your overall health as it increases the risk of developing diabetes symptoms.
If you do not maintain an optimum blood glucose level, you are highly prone to gum or periodontal disease. These problems will lead to jaw bone infection and tooth loss if left untreated.
Should You Eat Snacks and Sweets?
You might ask if we need to stop eating junk food. The answer is no, but have it in moderation. It is best if you only eat three meals a day instead of snacking 7 to 10 times a day. In case you need to snack, select food items that do not contain sugar.
Fruit also contains acids, which can erode your teeth. However, the damage is only caused if you eat an unusually large amount. Also, try not to consume dried fruit as it is high in sugar too. Savory snacks are always preferred as they do less harm than sugary food such as cheese, nuts, raw vegetables, and breadsticks.
In conclusion, it is not the amount of sugar you consume, but how often you do it that matters. To help reduce tooth decay and cavity, cut down on sugary foods and drinks. Try using chewing gum, then brushing and flossing is not possible. Food with high sugar results in health problems and leads to heart disease and obesity.
Interestingly, junk food is not harmful when you consume it in a controlled and calculated manner. When junk food is consumed in moderation, these fast foods are a nice, satisfying treat even for adults.
Complications and problems only arise when you consume them too frequently and in large quantities. Consuming them too often can lead to severe oral and overall health problems.
Both your oral and overall health are associated in several ways that you might not realize. Consumption of junk food is responsible for a majority of the dental issues detected today.
Hence, the relation between its consumption and deteriorating oral health is right in front of you. The question that remains is, do you want to put a dent in your beautiful smile?