Monday, June 14, 2010

Nightime snacking leads to loss of teeth

Do you enjoy eating late at night? Some people do most of their eating after 6:00 P.M. - whether it be nighttime snacking while watching late night T.V. or a chilly bowl of ice cream enjoyed at midnight. Unfortunately, nocturnal snacking could earn you some extra time in a dental chair. A new study shows that nighttime eating is associated with tooth loss.

Eating Late at Night and Loss of Teeth: Is There an Association?

In a study published in the journal Eating Behaviors, researchers looked at the eating habits of 2,217 middle-aged men and women. Men and women who ate twenty-five percent or more of their calories after dinner were classified as nighttime eaters. Some people in this group not only ate before bedtime, but woke up to eat a late night snack. What did this study show? Nighttime eating was associated with a higher overall risk for tooth loss.

The higher risk of loss of teeth seen in the men and women in this study didn't vary based on the type of food they ate - and researchers took into account other factors that could have altered the results such as age, smoking, and their overall diet. It seems that nocturnal eating, in and of itself, is a risk factor for tooth loss.

Why Does Nighttime Eating Increase the Risk of Tooth Loss?

Professor Damien Walmsley, a consultant for the British Dental Association, believes the culprit is the lower saliva flow that occurs during the evening hours. Saliva not only has natural anti-bacterial properties, but also neutralizes the enamel

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