Although pizza was first invented by the Italians, it’s the Americans who developed a voracious appetite for this delight. In fact, around three-billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. on an annual basis, enjoyed by people from all demographics and age groups. When it comes down to it, the numbers are staggering. An estimated 251 million pounds of pizza go into our bellies each year.
But while satiating your never-ending desire for pizza, have you ever considered the health implications of it, more specifically, your oral health?
Unlike most fast foods which we also tend to rapidly consume, pizza actually has a GOOD effect on our health. You heard right. Contrary to the hype about pizza and weight gain, it is not a big weight gainer and it doesn’t cause cancer or a heart attack, compared to everything else we may eat, but pizza does contain copious amounts of cheese, so eating it in moderation is recommended.
According to researchers from Italy, the consumption of pizza reduces the likelihood of a heart attack. This is also true for people who are obese. The main source of fat in pizza is from the cheese and oregano oil, but as mentioned, taken in moderation should not be a major factor. As far as our dental health is concerned, pizza is extremely beneficial.
Cheese contributes to bone health. According to a study published in the Journal of General Dentistry, chest and dairy products in general actually help to protect the teeth against cavities and the gradual build-up of plaque.
68 participants between the age of 12 to 15 were segmented into four groups. Each was assigned a particular type of food to eat, these were cheese, milk, yogurt and paraffin. The participants chewed the food for three minutes and then cleansed their mouths with water. The pH (measure of acidity) of their dental plaque level was then measured at 10-minute intervals after consumption.
The groups who consumed milk, paraffin and yogurt showed no pH changes in their mouths. The group with cheese, however, showed significant changes in their pH values, which rapidly increased after each interval.
Cheese effectively decreased the cavity in their mouths. Low pH levels indicate an environment which has been contaminated with acidity, putting the person at risk of tooth erosion, a gradual process which eats away at tooth enamel.
Here are the few things to keep in mind before choosing your pizza
What Sauce to Choose?
Any binge eating pizza session is incomplete without incredulous amounts of tomato sauce thrown into the mix. Now tomatoes are a great source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. And they all have a great role to play in our teeth. Vitamin K helps to stop tooth decay by increasing the process of calcium absorption in the body. Potassium helps to improve bone density
The Type of Crust
Scientists claim that eating those chewy crusts helps release a chemical which can protect against bowel cancer. This chemical has antioxidant properties that prevents changes in the body which can lead to a tumor. The chemical reaction is a result of baking only… an essential process for making good pizza.
Most pizzas typically come packed with meat. And if you choose a pizza which mixes in different kinds of meat such as beef and chicken, that serves to increase the protein intake. Teeth rely on protein to help maintain their structure while increasing muscle development. This is extremely important if a child is using braces for correcting the posture of their teeth in accordance with the jaw.
Pizza has TONS of Fiber
Pizza contains an incredibly high amount of fiber. This helps to keep the saliva flowing, which in turn helps to increase our mineral defenses against tooth decay. In addition, fiber also helps individuals who tend to be more constipated because of their troublesome bowel movements and it helps to maintain healthy weight (there’s some compensation for all that cheese). It also lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Pizza can be unhealthy if you choose the wrong ingredients or if you eat too much of it. Although it’s incredibly tempting to have a binge eating session with pizza, if you combine processed meats which include salt and nitrites, it could become a factor in heart disease and cancer.
If eaten in moderation, pizza can be a boost to our oral health, but if you choose the wrong ingredient, overwhelm yourself with cheese or end up eating too much of it, the negative health effects might just outweigh the positive ones. Moderation is a key component here and our recommendation is to eat pizza from outlets which do not contain processed meat and use whole grain for their crusts. Finally, it works wonders for your teeth, especially if you choose vegetable-based toppings.