Are you a frequent follower of this site? If so, then you already know of the concern that we have for the education of our readers so they know about all things related to their health, both their overall general health as well as their oral health. We want to keep you informed about things we feel will eventually result in changes in your oral and overall general health that you’d likely not appreciate. Having said that, let me tell you that our article today is the first in a multiple article series devoted to the overall health benefits of fiber for both your general health and your oral health – and this includes every member of your family. My goal for this article series is to make sure you are familiar with the nutritional substance called fiber, how your body uses it, what sources in which it can be found and the affect it has on your overall general health and, most important from a dental / periodontal standpoint, how it affects your oral health. So, let’s get down to business and begin this week’s installment on fiber confusion.
The basics and types of fiber
Whenever I want to learn something new or expand what I may already know about a topic, the first thing I find necessary is to understand what it is. So, it follows that the first thing I need in this case is a definition for fiber and the two types that are available to us. According to Wikipedia, “…dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. It has two main components … soluble and insoluble…” . I suspect that you’re wondering why one needs or cares about this indigestible portion of what you eat. Well, I would love to address that issue by explaining the difference between the two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. I think once you know what they do, it will be quite clear to you and you’ll better understand why you should care.
This type of fiber actually draws water to itself and then forms a gel-like substance that slows down digestion. This digestive slow-down basically retards the emptying of the stomach and this helps to give you that “filled up” feeling that lasts for longer periods of time, One of the benefits of this slow-down allows you to control weight a bit better. If you’re diabetic, you also get an added perk — it helps to control blood sugars and allows an added effect on insulin sensitivity. For those of you who suffer from higher cholesterol levels, the soluble fibers have been found to help decrease the LDL, also known as “bad” blood cholesterol because it interferes with the ability of the dietary cholesterol to be absorbed.
Insoluble fiber is pretty important, too, as it provides the bulk needed to produce the laxative effect our bodies need to eliminate waste. These fibers don’t dissolve in water so, when they travel through the digestive system, what comes out is pretty much very similar to what went in.. This bulk producing fiber helps to eliminate constipation and aids in the speeding up of food and waste removal from your body.
Enough on this topic for now. In the next installment, we will talk about the foods from which you can get these fibers and how to bring them into your diet if you don’t already eat them. In the meantime, your Periodontist in Long Island can help to identify and treat gum disease in any member of your family. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease and periodontal disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.