Hi everyone,

It doesn’t take very long for a secret fad diet to become trendy.  It’s a sure thing that once a celebrity has done it, it is no longer a secret.  There’s juice cleanses, the milkshake diet, low-carb and the raw food diet just to name a few.

fad-dietsMany people will embark on a quick-fix diet shortly before an important event like a wedding or a high school reunion.  They know they’re running out of time, and they need something that will work fast.  Sometimes these decisions can lead to problems that negatively affect your oral health.  Some of these undesirable effects of fad diets include tooth sensitivity and tooth erosion and decay.

The Juice or Cleanse Diet

Low-calorie liquid, detox or cleanse diets have been around for quite some time.   They reached their peak of popularity when Beyonce attributed her 20 pound weight loss for her role in DreamGirls to a master cleanse that was used in the 1940s.  It consists of drinking a lemonade drink, made from cayenne pepper, lemons and grade B maple syrup, nine times a day for 10 days.  No food is allowed.  The only other substance allowed is a drink called the Salt Water Flush that supposedly helps your digestive system.

The Problem: Regardless of how unhealthy some of these fad diets seem many people continue to try them.  Most people will gain some, if not all, of their the weight back since they never established a sustainable healthy diet and end up trying it or another quick-fix diet again.  Over a period of time the high acid levels of these juice cleanses can do real damage to your tooth enamel.  Acidity, whether its fruit juices, sodas or energy drinks can cause erosion, demineralization, loss of tooth structure, sensitivity, staining, as well as cavities.

The AGD or Academy of General Dentistry (I am a fellow.) recently published an article recounting the experience of one patient who did a cleanse for several weeks.  She experienced hypersensitivity to the point she could no longer chew, a dental exam revealed the liquid had eroded right through her enamel and exposed the underlying dentin.  To fix the problem the dentist had to apply bonding agents and composites to literally resurface the teeth.  This process will have to be continually repeated every few years since the composites wear with time.  A more permanent solution involves putting crowns or bonded porcelain over all the teeth at considerable expense.

Fruit or vegetable juice cleanses simply swap regular meals with a smoothie drink.  On the surface it sounds nutritious, but vegetables and fruits are healthier when consumed whole rather than as a juice.  Sugar is sugar whether it’s from fruit or chocolate.  When we eat the whole fruit or vegetable we essentially get fiber along with the nutrient and sugary juice.  The fiber keeps the sugars from being absorbed too fast. When the sugar is absorbed quickly it is stored as fat (counterproductive) and we produce a burst of insulin to reduce the blood sugar.  Repeated excessive insulin production gradually fatigues the sugar/insulin system making the body unresponsive to insulin. This is thought to be instrumental in the rapid increased numbers of Type 2 Diabetics and people with Metabolic Syndrome.  In addition if juices are over-consumed the natural sugars can lower the mouth’s pH level (becomes more acid) which can lead to a permanent erosion (stripping away) of tooth enamel.

The Meal Replacement Shake

Another trendy diet plan is the meal replacement shake or snack bar.  As a shake, these items are typically prepackaged powders that easily mix with water or milk.  These meal replacements are often touted as “having all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients required for a healthy alternative to regular food.”  But these prepackaged powders and snack bars have little to no fat so they often contain a high sugar content for added flavor.  Like a lot of easily prepared food items, they also contain high acid content with ingredients like chlorogenic, alpha lipoic and citric acids as well as fermentable carbohydrates.These acidic add-ins can do significant damage to teeth.  Read the label for a list of ingredients and pay close attention to the acids and the amount of sugar these replacement meals contain.

If you’re still thinking of using meal replacement shakes or juice cleanses try using a straw.  This minimizes the contact between the sugary acids and your teeth.  Counterintuitively, you should wait at least a half hour after consuming acidic foods or drinks since the acid softened enamel is especially vulnerable to toothbrush and toothpaste abrasion.  An alternative is to chew sugar-free gum.  The saliva produced dilutes the acids and sugars, washes them away and restores neutral pH.

At  Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD we consider it a pleasure and a privilege inform you about current dental developments and knowledge.   A good way to prevent common tooth problems arising from our behaviors and habits is to see us for regular check-ups.

And If you’re new to the area or our practice, go online, take a look at our website (drmarklangberg.wpenginepowered.com ) and read our reviews to find out why our patients consider us tops in the area.  Give us a call today at 248-356-8790 and experience a difference a great dentist makes!

Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790