Weight loss tips that are good for your teeth too!
Have you been packing on the winter pounds? Or maybe hanging on to some excess baby weight? Weight loss is a common goal for many of us especially around the New Year.
Some easy steps to achieve weight loss include making smart food choices, portion control, and exercising. Studies show these changes can have many benefits the most obvious being your waistline but they can also be good for your teeth. I’ve listed some small changes below that can make a big difference on the scale and in your smile.
When You’re Planning Meals
In the past, you may not have taken the time to plan meals. You craved sugary or fatty foods often turning to fast food choices that weigh you down and cause fatigue.
Food is fuel for your body, and the right kinds of food will help you look, feel and function better. What your body needs is lean protein, vegetables, grains and nutritious foods to give you energy for the day.
An easy way to start is to think about what your plate should look like, using the image above:
- Fruits and vegetables: These should cover half your plate at meals. They are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from cavities.
- Grains: At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains or low-sugar breads and cereals, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Protein: Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. These phosphorus-rich foods help to keep your mouth healthy and contain valuable protein, which help keep you feel fuller for longer amounts of time.
- Dairy: When it comes to dairy, choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. Many are lactose intolerant or have chosen a plant based diet. In this case there are many plant based calcium sources. They include fortified almond, soy, or rice milk. Fortified orange juice, collard, mustard and turnip greens, dried figs, tofu, kale and broccoli can also be an excellent source of calcium.
When You Need Something to Drink
In the past, you may have reached for soda or sugary drinks but ideally you should be drinking several glasses of water daily.
1 in 4 Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda. Since a 20-ounce regular soda has an average of 227 calories, cutting soda from your diet is an easy way to save
The calories in regular soda are bad enough but it is even worse than that for your teeth because those calories come from added sugar. A regular can of soda also contains about 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar, which is how much added sugar the FDA says people over the age of 3 should have throughout an entire day!
The swap is simple: Water. (Even better if it’s fluoridated!) Water contains no calories, no sugars and helps keep cavities away by washing away leftover food and keeping dry mouth at bay.
In the past you may have grabbed a cookie or candy after dinner to feed your sweet tooth.
Instead, try going for a stick of sugar free gum! You can prevent dessert remorse and clean your teeth at the same time. Waiting about 20 minutes after a meal helps your body determine if it’s really still hungry. Studies also show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can reduce your risk of cavities. (Look for a sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.)
In the past you may have rehydrated with a sports drink after exercising, which you might not have realized is loaded with sugar.
Now when you work out try filling your water bottle with tap water. Adults should aim for two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. Staying hydrated is key when you’re exercising, but sports drinks also often add extra calories because they are full of sugar and can be acidic. That’s why, water is the best beverage for your body and your teeth. And while you’re strengthening your body with a workout, you can strengthen your teeth by drinking tap water. Community water with fluoride can actually help rebuild weak spots on the outer shell of your teeth.
When You Could Really Go for a Snack
Now, you’re better prepared and choose healthy foods. Picking up chips, crackers or whatever is around is an easy way for calories to sneak up on you. Limiting your snacking and making better choices can help control your calorie intake and give cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth less leftover food to snack on as well. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—to feel fuller, longer and help your overall and dental health at the same time.
If you tend to snack at night, try moving your evening brushing time up a bit. A clean mouth just might motivate you to say no to that midnight snack.
Source: American Dental Association/ Mouth Healthy