While everyone is aware that certain vitamins and nutrients should be a consistent part of a healthy diet, do you know which three are the most important?
These crucial categories of nutrients are the macronutrients, and each of them is a crucial part of our survival. The three macronutrients are protein, fats, and carbohydrates, and all three of them are vital to basic functions of our body. While we know these nutrients are crucial for our health, how do they affect the health of our smile?
Macronutrients and Our Teeth
Protein, fats, and carbohydrates differ in the effects they have on your smile. Comprised of completely different substances, these macronutrients are not only found in different foods, but differ wildly in what they do for your teeth. Discover the foods that are rich in these macronutrients and the impact each makes on your smile.
Which Types of Foods Are Rich in Each Macronutrient?
If you’re on a diet where you need to consume more or less of a particular macronutrient, it’s important to know the foods that contain high quantities of it. Peruse these examples to see which types of foods are rich in different macros.
Foods That Are Rich in Protein
Animal-based foods including meat and dairy are rich in protein. For those who avoid animal-based foods due to being on a vegetarian diet, seeds, nuts, and beans also are abundant in protein. Protein is best known for building and sustaining muscle, but it plays a major role in rebuilding bone, tissue, and other vital parts of the body as well.
How Do Protein-rich Foods Affect Your Teeth?
While not nearly as unhealthy for your smile as bread and other foods that are high in carbs, meat products are highly acidic, which isn’t great for your teeth. However, unlike carbs, meat doesn’t cling to your teeth, gradually eating away at your enamel.
Dairy products like milk and cheese are excellent for your teeth. All dairy products are rich in calcium, which is a mineral that bolsters the health of your teeth. Also, the act of eating cheese is great for your teeth because of its texture: it scrubs debris from your teeth with every bite.
Nuts, Beans, and Seeds
Each of these protein-rich foods is excellent for your body, mostly due to the extra nutrients they provide. For example, beans and legumes are rich in fiber and nuts have healthy fats in addition to protein. Aside from the extra nutrients, they won’t have a negative impact on your teeth, other than the fact that seeds can get stuck between them.
Foods That Are Rich in Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the main form of energy that the body burns to fuel physical and mental activities. It’s important to note that the three kinds of carbohydrates differ greatly in terms of their health benefits and how they affect your smile.
The healthiest type of carbohydrates, complex carbs contain more than one type of sugar. These are the best sources of carbs for your teeth and body, including carbs from fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans. Note that breads are complex carbs, but since they can cause tooth decay by breaking down and clinging to your teeth as sugar, all forms of bread are bad for your smile.
Known for providing quick energy, simple carbohydrates are invariably bad for your teeth. Foods that are considered simple carbs include syrup, sugar, candy, and honey. Note that simple carbohydrates shouldn’t be eaten in excess, but they do serve a purpose: If you’re going to be highly active after eating them, then you’ll burn simple carbs as energy.
For both your health and your teeth, refined carbohydrates are the worst of the three types. Found in processed foods like snack cakes and beverages such as sodas, these foods will wreak havoc on your oral health. Unfortunately, these types of foods are often cheap and highly addictive due to high sugar and fat content, yet they provide little to no nutritional value.
Foods That Are High in Fat
The health benefits of foods that are high in fat vary greatly in terms of the type of fat. However, the main concern for your teeth is whether other ingredients are included that can be harmful to your oral health. For example, avocados and Fudge Rounds are both high in fat, but the sugar and sticky filling found in Fudge Rounds is terrible for your teeth whereas avocados aren’t.
The Worst Type of Fat
Although saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats all serve a positive purpose in the body, trans fats are considered the only type that’s truly harmful. Luckily, a lot of restaurants are cutting back on trans foods, but they can be found in some unexpected foods, including:
- Microwave popcorn containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Fried fast food
- Bakery products cooked with margarine or vegetable oil
- Pizza dough made with partially hydrogenated oil
- Canned frosting
- Some brands of crackers
Regardless of their effect on your teeth, foods with trans fats are awful for your health and should be avoided if possible.
Foods That Are Rich in More Than One Macronutrient
Some foods provide significant amounts of two different macronutrients. This includes unhealthy examples, like french fries, which are high in both fat and carbs. It also includes foods that are healthy and high in fats and protein, such as Keto Bars from Bhu Foods. Finding foods that are rich in the macros you need can make it a lot easier to meet your fitness goals.
Eating Whatever You Want? There May Be Consequences!
Some people are never taught about proper nutrition or they lack the discipline to eat healthy foods. For those who focus only on taste and ignore their nutrition, dire consequences for their overall health and smile are likely to follow. Here are two examples of what can happen when you treat your diet with reckless abandon.
What Happens to Your Teeth When You’re Addicted to Carbs?
All breads and carbs are essentially a form of sugar, and that sugar releases endorphins that produce a feel-good effect. This makes high-sugar foods addictive, causing cravings for things like doughnuts and candy when you aren’t even legitimately hungry.
This type of high carb diet will undeniably cause not only weight gain, but dental problems like gum disease and cavities as well. While brushing and flossing can manage much of the plaque, if not treated, it’ll quickly harden into tartar. At this point, only a dentist like Dr. Darlene Hart will be able to resolve the problem, providing a thorough cleaning with special dental tools.
A Poor Diet Will Affect Your Sleep as Well
You may think that no real harm will come from eating all of the cakes, bread, pastries, and sugar you want, but when it starts to affect your sleep, you’ll probably begin to take notice. Sleep apnea goes untreated 80% of the time, and the vast majority of patients who suffer from it are overweight, which is directly linked to an unhealthy, high-carb diet.
If you know you aren’t in the best shape, and the quality of your sleep begins to suffer, you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to wake up dozens of times throughout the night. Accompanied by loud snoring, sleep apnea creeps into your life, affecting your relationships, mood, and even your daily performance.
If your sleep quality has been poor, it’s recommended that you seek a sleep specialist like Dr. Nicholas Sager who can provide comfortable oral appliances to help restore your ability to sleep.
Eat the Foods Your Body Needs for Optimal Dental Health
It’s no surprise that the foods that are healthiest for us are also the best for our teeth. The same fresh fruits, grass-fed meats, and milk and cheese that provide valuable benefits for your body will also give you the nutrients you need to keep your teeth strong. Although it’s easy to see eating as a purely pleasurable activity, it’s vital to remember that we’re eating to refuel and reshape our body, including all the organs and processes happening inside of it.