Dental Blog

Overeating And Your Oral Health

Thursday, February 28, 2019
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Photo by Lawrson Pinson on Unsplash

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Also known as the Feast of the Patron Saint, this holiday will be celebrated in Ireland and around the world by thousands with food, drink and merriment in the form of music and dancing.

St. Patrick’s Day menus will typically feature comfort foods such as corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, Irish soda bread and maybe a pint (or two) of beer. In our opinion, the indulgence factor of these foods is seriously underrated. With plenty of delicious food and drink to go around, your belly is bound to feel full. Which brings us to today’s blog topic: overeating and your oral health.

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Beat, overeating refers to eating more calories than your body uses for energy. Overeating can be caused by a number of emotional and psychological reasons, such as stress, anxiety and depression. Consult your physician if you notice yourself exhibiting any of these behaviors.

So how does this relate to oral health? Well, it’s common knowledge that eating too much sugar can lead to cavities and tooth decay. However, this fact doesn’t just apply to sugar, it applies to basically all foods.

As a result of overeating, the number of food particles left on the teeth’s surface increases. Due to this, the chance of attracting harmful oral bacteria that destroys tooth enamel is much higher.

The connection between poor oral hygiene and overeating occurs when eating and drinking. When this happens the mouth undergoes a change in pH, becoming more acidic and remaining this way for 30 minutes after. Did you know that tooth enamel destroying bacteria thrives in acidic environments? Because of this, food grazers who eat frequently throughout the day are more likely to develop poor oral hygiene for this reason. Luckily, saliva helps neutralize the pH drop and bring the mouth closer to a basic pH level. For those of us who need a science refresher, the pH scale is a scale ranging from 0 to 14 measuring the acidity or basicity of a solution. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, 0 is considered most acidic and 14 is considered most basic. Healthy mouth pH is generally around 5.5.

Furthermore, effects of overeating have been shown to elevate risk factors for heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Research has linked these health risks to oral health issues, namely gum disease.

So although today is a holiday, it’s no excuse for you to take a break from your oral hygiene. After consuming your St. Patrick’s Day meal be sure to give your teeth a thorough brush for two minutes and a floss as well. And don’t forget that scheduling a twice annual check-up is important in maintaining your oral health too.

We hope this information has provided insight on the way you consume today and every day!