According to My Medical News Daily, a recent Gallup poll has shown that the healthy eating habits of America have greatly decreased since last year.
The poll results were concluded from the responses of about 1000 adults each day. It found that the percentage of Americans who diligently ate at least five servings of fruits or vegetables at least four days in a week in May 2011 has declined to 55.9%, from the previous 57.8% found last year. The largest drop in produce consumption was found in the Hispanic, young adult, senior, and female population.
There was also a drop in the percentage of people who claimed “eating healthy all day yesterday.” The number fell from the previous 68.2% down to 66.2%. To put this in perspective, this 2% difference means that about 4.5 million American adults are eating less healthy than last year.
In addition, the percentage of smokers increased from 20.2% to 20.8%. The percentage of those who claimed to have exercised at least 30 minutes three times in the past week decreased from 53.6% to 52.9%.
Effects on Oral Health
Your eating habits are directly related to your oral health. Healthy eating equals a healthy mouth. On the other hand, too much sugar or junk food can result in many different dental problems—minor or major.
Halitosis is just another way of saying “bad breath.” Food particles can get trapped in between your teeth and, if not removed, rot. This often causes the foul odors that result in bad breath. Bad breath is a minor problem that many people face. To prevent this from happening to you, be sure to floss at least once a day. Flossing will help remove any food particles from between your teeth that may be stuck.
Cavities are caused by plaque on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acid which destroys tooth enamel, eventually resulting in decay. Plaque is attracted to and feeds off sugar. The sugar acts as an energy source to the plaque, therefore increasing the acid production. Because of this, eating excessive amounts of sugar increases your likelihood of tooth decay. To help prevent this, stay away from foods that are high in sugar. Also be sure to brush your teeth after each meal to help pick up any leftover sugar residue that may be left on your teeth.
When plaque is in contact with teeth for an extended amount of time, it hardens and turns into tartar. This tartar can become trapped at the base of the tooth, irritating and infecting the gums. Just as with decay, gum disease can be prevented by minimizing the amount of sugary foods you eat, as well as regularly brushing and flossing. An antibacterial mouthwash can also help with killing any extra bacteria that brushing may have left behind.
In addition, smoking is also harmful to your oral health, as it can result in bad breath, stained teeth, or even oral cancer. Remember that healthy eating and living is not just beneficial to your oral health, but your overall health as well. So next time you want to indulge in that chocolate cake, grab an apple instead. Your mouth—and body—will thank you.