We all know sugar is not the best for our health. Not only do sugary treats impact our weight, but they also harm our teeth. When we eat sugar-filled foods, the bacteria that forms naturally in our mouth feeds on these sugars and releases acids onto our dental enamel. These acids lead to tooth decay that, over time, can cause painful cavities. That said, giving up sugar is more difficult than you might think—it isn’t only about skipping the candy and cookies! According to a study by the American Heart Association, adults in the US consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This means we’re eating a large amount of sugar without even realizing it! To start eliminating excess sugar from your diet, you might consider trying the following four techniques.
1. Read the labels.
Sugars can often hide in foods that you wouldn’t expect! That’s why it is so important to read your labels whenever you shop for groceries. You’ll want to be particularly diligent about avoiding canned foods as well as condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, and hot sauce—all of which contain a surprising amount of added sugar. You should also note that sugar has many names when written on labels, so be on the lookout for words like high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or juice, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup, molasses, and caramel. By eliminating these hidden sugars, you can avoid the unwanted damage to your teeth!
2. Always opt for the low-sugar or sugar-free options.
Whenever possible, you should always try to buy food items that contain less or no sugar. You might also consider using alternatives to adding sugar to your meals. For example, when eating oatmeal or cereal, try adding fruit to your bowl as opposed to sugar! By doing so, you can avoid the repercussions these sugars have on your oral health.
3. Quit drinking soda and other sugary beverages.
Did you know that 44% of the added sugar in the American diet comes from sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks? Even apple juice contains more than 12 teaspoons of sugar in a 450 ml container! These sugary drinks not only fill you with empty calories, but they wreak havoc on your oral health. However, by replacing these beverages with fluoridated water, you can combat the effects of dry mouth and strengthen your dental enamel. If you’re not ready to give up carbonated beverages quite yet, try drinking sparkling water instead.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
Poor sleep habits have been linked to plenty of health issues, including depleted immune systems, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Interestingly, though, poor sleep is also linked to your eating habits! Recent studies have shown that adults are more prone to choosing high-calorie, sugary foods when they are sleep-deprived. Therefore, one of the best ways to take care of your overall health—including your oral health—is to get a great night’s sleep.
Are you prone to cavities? Scheduling regular dentist appointments can help! To book your next visit, call Hinsdale Dental today!Return to Blog