One of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health is having a diet that’s healthy for your mouth and the rest of your body. If you’re having difficulty maintaining good oral health, figuring out how your diet contributes to oral health problems is a great step forward.
The problem is, it’s not always easy to know what you’re really eating. When asked about diet, people can have many different responses. Some people just can’t remember what they had for breakfast, let alone what they’ve eaten for the last week. Other people self-consciously think about all the things they know they shouldn’t be eating and give an account that makes their diet look worse than it is. Others want to look good for the dentist and only tell the things they think are best for oral health. None of these responses really help us make positive changes to your diet.
However, a food journal can help you get an accurate picture of what you’re really eating and drinking so we can make positive changes.
How to Keep a Food Journal
There are many ways to keep a food journal. You have to decide which is right for you. These days, the simplest approach for most people is just to download a food journal app that will help you track what you’re eating. These aren’t usually focused on oral health, but they can serve the purpose. For many people, an app makes a food journal easy and convenient. You have your phone on you all the time, and you often have it out for social media. You may even be taking pictures of your food to post!
The main difference between food posting for social media and a food journal is that you have to record everything–even the stuff you don’t want anyone to know you’re eating!
For other people, a food app isn’t a good idea. Either you don’t always have your phone, or the distractions of your phone make it hard to accurately record your diet. (“Oooh, look at that cake! I’ll just pin the recipe, then I’ll record my lunch.”) If that’s you, a physical food journal may be the answer. It’s offline and less likely to distract. You can use it just for recording food, and that’ll make sure you’re getting everything down–and not losing productivity. We know how much of a time suck your phone can be.
Record All the Right Information
When it comes to oral health, it’s not just what you’re eating, it’s how you’re eating. To get the most value out of your food journal, make sure to record:
- What you’re eating
- How much you’re eating
- What you’re drinking
- When, where, and why you’re eating and drinking
This isn’t quite like keeping a diet journal. You don’t have to record calories or carbs precisely. We’re trying to figure out your diet more generally to provide accurate instruction. We want to know about sugars and acidic foods in your diet, but we’re not going for a precise count.
But we want to understand what eating habits might be contributing to tooth decay. Are you snacking through the afternoon to try to stay awake? Sleep apnea may be the cause. Are you stress eating? Managing stress might be an important part of improving your health. Do you snack while watching TV? You might consider watching less TV, skipping snacks, or substituting healthier snacks.
It’s important that you try as much as possible not to change your diet because you’re tracking it. We want to get as good a picture as possible of your normal eating habits.
Holistic Dentistry Aims to Preserve Your Teeth
At Contemporary Dentistry, our goal is to make sure you’re healthy in body, mind, and mouth. Our holistic dentistry approach allows us to practice minimally invasive dentistry so that you need fewer fillings, crowns, and other restorations. Maybe you won’t need any, and you’ll enjoy years of clean checkups.
If you’re looking for a Rochester, NY dentist who’s truly concerned about your overall wellbeing, please call (585) 244-3337 today for an appointment at Contemporary Dentistry.