The Oral Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
In our last blog, we wrote about the damaging effects the acids used to flavor diet soda have on your teeth. This time around, we want to focus on something you can eat that is good for your teeth: dietary fiber.
There are few nutrients as amazing and useful as dietary fiber, which provides health benefits to nearly every major system in your body. The ability of fiber to treat constipation and other digestive ailments has long been recognized, but fiber is also very useful in protecting your oral hygiene.
At Overmeyer Family Dental, we know that preventing dental ailments is easier than treating them, and eating foods that are high in dietary fiber is one way to prevent dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
The Two Types of Fiber
Soluble Fiber – This type of fiber breaks down in water form a thick gel-like substance, which has health benefits for multiple systems in your body, including helping with weight loss and regulating blood sugar.
Insoluble Fiber – This type of fiber does not break down in water, rather it clumps together and pushes food and waste through your digestive system to help maintain bowel regularity and treat digestive ailments.
Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
Both soluble and insoluble fiber help protect your body from a host of illnesses and ailment throughout its various systems. A few years ago, Harvard University performed two studies, one on men and one on women, on the effects of high fiber diets on health care workers, mostly doctors and nurses. The study found dietary fiber to be beneficial in a number of ways.
Heart Health – The Harvard study shows that both men and women who eat lot of foods high in dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, have 40% less of a chance of developing heart disease and high blood pressure. These people also have more good cholesterol in their bodies, as a result of their diet.
Digestive Health – As we mentioned above, insoluble fiber is particularly effective at keeping your bowel regular. It has the unique ability to treat both constipation and diarrhea. Soluble fiber has been shown to be effective at treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which is a digestive disorder marked by abdominal pains and bowel irregularity. The aforementioned study found that a high fiber diet decreases your likelihood of developing diverticulitis by 40%.
Endocrine Health – Diets high in fiber help regulate your blood sugar, which means eating high fiber foods will help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to the Harvard study, those with a diet low in healthy fiber are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Oral Health – Beyond all the wonderful health benefits already mentioned, eating foods that are high in dietary fiber can even help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. For the most part, foods that contain lots of dietary fiber require some healthy chewing, which is one of the best things your can do for your oral health.
Chewing your food stimulates your mouth’s production of saliva, which has natural antibacterials that fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva also helps keep your teeth clean of food particles. So as you can see, saliva is a valuable ally in the fight to protect your oral health.
The oral health benefits associated with fiber only apply if you actually eat the foods containing the fiber. There are a numbers of supplements available at health food markets, including pills, powders, and gummies. But these supplements do nothing for your oral health. On the contrary, the fiber powders and gummies often contain sugar, so they could actually be damaging to your oral health.
Visit Our Office in Orlando
Overmeyer Family Dental provides the quality dental care you need to keep your teeth healthy enough to chew foods high in dietary fiber. If your ability to chew becomes weakened by tooth decay, then you will have difficulty chewing healthy foods, and your whole body suffers.
So, Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and examination.