Impact of Processed/Refined Foods on Oral Health: A Mini-Review
Priyake D. Palipana
Since the evolution of the human beings, food habits and consumption patterns have been constantly changing. At the beginning, humans were depending primarily on hunting and gathering as nomadic hunter-gathers. Subsequently, humans gradually started engaging in agriculture, which acted as the major reason for the evolution of dietary patterns among humans. At the early periods of human civilization, burning food with fire or charcoal was practiced as the widely used food processing technique. However, with time humans recognized the importance of processing food by different means to make them more palatable and ensure preservation. In addition, adequately processed food with correct techniques can avoid a variety of food borne diseases. Therefore, at present providing access to a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food remains as a key requirement, which ensure quality of life and well-being. Beside ensuring the food security, using the appropriate food processing approaches play a critical role in this aspect. During the processing, natural ingredients undergo changes and various non-edible constituents could be added into the food products. Food processing can lead into notable increments in refined carbohydrates and lipids and decrease naturally occurring components such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Often, this can lead to a plethora of diseases. Based on the NOVA classification of foods, food products may be classified into four broad categories as unprocessed/minimally processed foods, processed culinary ingredients, processed foods, and ultra-processed foods and drinks. Among numerous diseases that can be caused by the consumption of poorly processed foods, oral and dental diseases have been limitedly focussed and highlighted. Therefore, the current article attempts to cater for this knowledge gap by reviewing the common oral and dental diseases manifested by consuming processed ultra-processed food such as candidiasis, dental caries, dental erosion and periodontal disease. Conversely, consumption of more natural kinds of food are more favourable towards maintaining a healthy oral and dental environment. Substantial knowledge of this can effectively support the relevant authorities to prevent and manage common dental problems, which have become a major challenge to the individuals and the health system. In addition, the food processing industries can understand the importance of adhering to standard food processing techniques and conditions, to maintain the desired quality of food.
Keywords: Dental Caries, Dental Erosion, Periodontal Disease, Processed Food