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To Boulder’s Healthy Eaters: Some “Health Foods” Can Be Bad For Teeth

March 5, 2014

Filed under: Sage Blog — Tags: , , — Dr. Terry Batliner @ 9:18 pm

As a resident of Boulder, I can tell you that it seems that everyone (well almost) is health conscious. They run, they ride bikes, ski, rock climb and, most of all, they eat right- vegan, vegetarian, gluten or dairy free. Everyone is into health foods.

Last year, the social media site Foursquare rated Boulder Colorado the #1 Healthiest Eating City in America. (Based on the largest number of “check-ins” by Boulderites to healthy spots like juice bars, salad shops, yoga studios, etc.) And the Magazine  Bon Appétit rated Boulder America’s Foodiest Town and the criteria included quality farmers’ markets, concerned farmers, and a community of food lovers.

Does the Healthy Eating by Boulderites Mean We Have Healthier Teeth?

Not necessarily. For your teeth to benefit, even if you consider yourself a healthy eater, you have to make the right choices. Even in “health foods” there are things you should know so that you can make the best choices for not only your body, but your teeth in particular.

Read Labels

If you live in Boulder, you read two things, the labels on the food you buy and The Daily Camera. The first is always good to read and the second is good – most of the time. For example, if you substitute rice milk, almond milk or soy milk for dairy, it is best to choose one without a lot of added sugar. You can only tell this by reading labels.

The sugar can not only increase your risk of dental decay but can also spike your blood sugar causing your body to release insulin. Insulin can lead to fat storage and it is not your friend if you are trying to lose or maintain weight (so that you can win your age group when the US Cross Country Championships are in Boulder again next year.) You should try to eat low glycemic index food. That will keep your blood sugar down and most do not promote tooth decay. Any of the milk substitutes that are not sweetened are a great option.

Sugar Substitute Choices

So, what can you substitute for the sweet taste that even Boulderites desire? Agave nectar is not the answer. It is just as bad as sugar and maybe even worse as it can contain as much as 80% fructose.It is also more soluble that regular sucrose so people often use more of it than sugar. Saccharin, sorbitol, stevia and honey all have their problems too. However, one artificial sweetener tastes real and actually kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay- Xylitol. It is a reasonable option for the sweetness jones. However, it does cost more than other sweeteners.

Can’t I Have SOME Sugar?

And for you Boulderites that just have to eat some sweets now and then, here is the key: Frequency is the one thing that you have to control. You can eat just about anything as long as you do it only once in a while and you brush your teeth afterwards. From the perspective of your teeth, the worst thing you can do is eat a little sugar, like a jelly bean or hard candy, every 15 minutes all day long.

At Sage Dental, we are thrilled to be in Boulder County and all of our dentists prioritize a healthy lifestyle and enjoy talking to our patients about the effects of your food choices on your teeth. Contact us here and like a good Boulderite, ride your bike on down for your next appointment.

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