Whole Grains To Promote Oral Health

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Whole Grains To Promote Oral Health
Whole Grains To Promote Oral Health

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Whole Grains to Promote Oral Health

Wholegrain carbohydrates should be included in the diet, and processed carbohydrates should be excluded, according to a WHO review of oral health research.

Whole Grains to Promote Oral Health
Whole Grains to Promote Oral Health

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A review of oral health research commissioned by the World Health Organization found that it is necessary to stick to whole grain carbohydrates in the diet and avoid processed, especially sugary ones.

These results are based on an analytical review of 33 scientific papers on starch and oral hygiene and published in the Journal of Dental Research.

The review included studies on foods containing what was characterized as fast-digesting starches (white bread, crackers, biscuits, cakes, pretzels) and slow-digesting starches (grains, legumes). Their influence on the occurrence of dental caries, oral cavity and gum (periodontal) cancer was analyzed.

Food contains different types of starchy carbohydrates with varying degrees of processing. Although the researchers found no link between total starch eaten and tooth decay, they found an increased risk of cavities from consuming processed forms of starch. The fact is that with the help of amylase contained in saliva, starches break down into sugars in the mouth. Several studies have linked the consumption of whole grain starches to a reduced risk of oral cancer and protection from gum disease. However, they have a weak database.

Paula Moynihan, professor of nutrition and oral hygiene at Newcastle University, UK, who led the study, said: “Evidence suggests that a diet rich in whole grain carbohydrates is less likely to harm your oral health than one containing processed starches."

The World Health Organization is currently updating its guidelines for carbohydrate intake, including assessing the quality of dietary fiber and starch. An additional health benefit, according to these WHO guidelines, is a reduction in free sugars intake to less than 10% of total energy (calorie) intake, and further reductions to less than 5% are suggested.

Free sugars are sugars that are added to food by the manufacturer, chef or consumer, as well as naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and their concentrates.

“Despite the unreasonable fashion of excluding carbohydrates from the diet, a carbohydrate-rich diet has proven to be beneficial for oral health when low in sugars and based on whole grain carbohydrate variations such as pasta, couscous and wholemeal bread. Whole or whole grain flour on the labels will be the key for shoppers,”said Professor Moynihan.

Further WHO recommendations, based on analysis of scientific research, will address the effects of carbohydrates on cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

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