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Stick to Whole Grain Carbs for Oral Health

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We know to limit our intake of — or say no to— sweetened drinks and candy, but processed carbohydrates may need to be tacked on the list of things not to consume to help maintain oral health. A review of research commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) reports starch poses a risk to the dentition.

The report, “Effects of Starch on Oral Health: Systematic Review to Inform WHO Guideline,” published in the Journal of Dental Research, indicates that patients should avoid processed carbohydrates, especially if sweet, and opt for whole-grain carbohydrates.

In a review of 33 papers on starch and oral health, investigators found an association between more processed forms of starch and an increased risk of caries. However, no association was noted between the total amount of starch eaten and tooth decay.

The papers included studies of foods containing rapidly digestible starches (e.g., white bread, crackers and pretzels) and slowly digestible starches (e.g., whole grains and legumes) and their relationships with dental caries, periodontal disease and oral cancer.

According to current WHO guidelines, free sugar intake (sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus those naturally present (such as in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates) should be reduced to less than 10% of total caloric intake, and further reduction to less than 5% for additional health benefits.

Research commissioned by WHO will be used to inform the forthcoming carbohydrates guideline. To learn more about a nutritional approach to caries prevention, click here:  http://decisionsindentistry.com/article/protective-role-polyphenols-oral-health/

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