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Diets bad for the teeth are also bad for the body
Date:7/9/2009

ears or so, Hujoel says, people have been advised to make fermentable dietary carbohydrates the foundation of their diet. Fats were considered the evil food. A high-carbohydrate diet was assumed to prevent a number of systemic chronic diseases. Unfortunately, such a diet - allegedly good for systemic health - was bad for dental health. As a result, cavities or gingival bleeding from fermentable carbohydrates could be avoided only and not always successfully, as Hujoel points out -- by conscientious brushing, fluorides, and other types of dental preventive measures. When these measures are not successful, people end up with cavities and gum disease.

Hujoel observed that the dental harms of fermentable carbohydrates have been recognized by what looks like every major health organization. Even those fermentable carbohydrates assumed to be good for systemic health break down into simple sugars in the mouth and promote tooth decay. All fermentable carbohydrates have the potential to induce dental decay, Hujoel notes.

But what if fermentable carbohydrates are also bad for systemic health? Hujoel asks. What if dietary guidelines would start incorporating the slew of clinical trial results suggesting that a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates improves cardiovascular markers of disease and decreases body fat? Such a change in perspective on fermentable carbohydrates, and by extension, on people's diets, could have a significant impact on the dental profession, as a diet higher in fat and protein does not cause dental diseases, he notes. Dentists would no longer be pressed to recommend to patients diets that are bad for teeth or remain mum when it comes to dietary advice. Dentists often have been reluctant, Hujoel says, to challenge the prevailing thinking on nutrition. Advising patients to reduce the amount or frequency of fermentable carbohydrate consumption is difficult when official guidelines suggested the opposite.

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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@uw.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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