Weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions made every year. Making smart food choices, limiting portion size, and adding regular exercise are the steps you can take to shed pounds, and these changes can benefit more than just your waistline. They can also be good for your teeth.
Plan your Meals
Learn how much protein, vegetables, grains, and dairy you should have as a daily allowance. ChooseMyPlate.gov is a resource to help determine the amounts of each type. Too much takeout and less time on meal planning are common failures. Instead, think of food as essential fuel needed for your body to help you look, feel, and function better.
An easy way to start is to think about what your plate should look like, using the image to the left.
Fruits and Vegetables
These should cover half your plate. 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.
Whole grains or low-sugar bread and cereals, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice.
Make lean protein choices, such skinless poultry, lean beef and fish. Include eggs, beans, peas, and legumes to vary your diet. These phosphorus-rich foods help keep your mouth healthy and contain valuable protein, which helps keep you feeling fuller for more extended amounts of time.
Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt which are low in sugar. They contain protein and calcium, which are great additions for healthy teeth and gums.
Good for your waistline and good for your dental health.
Skip the sugary drinks
Harvard studies contend that in the United States, 2 out of 3 adults are obese or overweight, and 1 in 4 get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda, sports, or energy drinks. Since a 20-ounce soda has an average of 227 calories, and about 12.5 teaspoons of sugar, cutting soda from your diet is an easy way to save on calories.
So, choose water, especially fluoridated water. It contains no calories or sugars. It washes away leftover food and keeps dry mouth at bay. Win-win. No sugar keeps both waistlines and teeth happy.
Skip the cake and candy. Instead, reach for a piece of sugarless gum. After eating, chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes. This habit could reduce your risk of cavities. In addition, waiting about 20 minutes after a meal helps your body determine if it’s really still hungry.
Staying hydrated is essential when exercising. However, skip the sugary, acidic sports drinks to keep from adding extra calories. Instead, water is the best beverage for your body and your teeth. Improve your teeth by drinking tap water. Community water with fluoride actually helps rebuild weak spots on the outer shell of your teeth.
When hunger strikes, resist reaching for whatever is around. This habit is an easy way for calories to sneak up on you. Limit snacks to nutritious choices If you do snack, make nutritious choices —like yogurt, cheese, vegetable, fruits, or nuts. It will help you feel fuller, longer and help your overall and dental health at the same time.
You may even want to try moving your evening brushing time up slightly if you tend to snack at night. No one wants to ruin a clean mouth. This might motivate you to say no to that midnight snack.