These guidelines are intended to provide a healthy eating plan, the proper amounts of essential nutrients and the energy to prevent nutritional deficiencies or excesses. A healthy eating plan also provides the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to reduce the risk for chronic diseases and maintain well-being.
In addition to a proper diet, smoking should be avoided following surgery, especially during the critical first 6 weeks. Smoking has profound negative effects on one’s oral health. Innumerable studies have conclusively demonstrated that tobacco use represents the most significant preventable risk factor in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer, periodontal bone-tooth loss, gum recession and increased implant complications.
Provided you don’t have a history of nutritional or metabolic deficiencies, an otherwise healthy adult should follow these guidelines to maintain nutritional balance and well-being.
1. It is important to eat a wide variety of foods. Include whole grains, fruit, green vegetables, low fat milk, yogurt and cheese, lean meats, poultry and fish. You should however limit the intake of fats, oils and sweets. Follow the Canada Food Guide Pyramid as a guide to healthy eating.
2. Balance the food you eat with plenty of physical activity to maintain or improve your weight. Most people gain weight with age. This increases weight-related health risks such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, hypertension, arthritis and other problems. Thirty minutes or more of moderate physical activity 5-7 times a week is recommended. An example is brisk walking.
3. Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, green vegetables and fresh fruits. Nutrients in these foods contain elements essential to a healthy eating plan. Not only do they provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and other healthy substances, but they are also low in fat. Eating more of these foods is associated with lower risks of developing many chronic diseases including certain types of cancer.
4. Choose a diet low in fat especially, saturated or hydrogenated fat and cholesterol. Although some dietary fat is essential for good health, most people consume too much fat. The number of overweight-obese people is on the rise. The risk of heart disease and certain cancers is directly linked to a high fat diet. Periodontal disease susceptibility is associated with obesity. An eating plan low in fat promotes a healthy weight while reducing the health risks mentioned above.
5. Choose a diet low in processed sugars. Sugars and starches occur naturally in many foods that also supply essential nutrients. Most people however consume excess sugar in the form of snack foods and deserts which contribute unwanted calories that leads to weight gain. Avoiding sugars alone will not automatically correct obesity. Similarly, selecting foods containing sugar substitutes (e.g., sorbitol, saccharin or aspartame) will likely prove insufficient to eliminate weight gain unless other lifestyle changes are incorporated into your daily routine. To lose weight, you must choose to decrease the total number of calories consumed while increasing energy expenditure through exercise. Recent studies have reported that the consumption of processed sugars causes increased triglyceride levels in the blood along with arterial cholesterol deposition. Finally, as we all know foods high in sugar contribute to tooth decay.
6. It is important to monitor and thus limit salt-sodium in your diet. Salt-sodium is typically found in high concentrations in processed foods. A high sodium diet is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure-hypertension. Canadians typically consume 2-3 times the recommended servings of salt-sodium daily. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains instead of prepared and processed foods (especially fast foods) while avoiding salting your foods are easy ways to decrease your salt intake.
7. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Alcohol consumption should be curtailed if taking pain medication and/or sedatives. Alcoholic beverages supply empty calories, but provide few if any nutrients. Current evidence suggests moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease in some individuals. Alcohol consumption above “moderation” increases the risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, certain cancers, accidents, birth defects, and premature death. Moderation is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. One drink equals: 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits.
Inadequate nutrition following periodontal or implant surgery will delay your healing, increase post operative pain, decrease your immune competence and increase your susceptibility to infection. Dr. Novack’s goal is to guide you to achieve optimum nutritional health not merely pre and post surgery, but for your lifetime.