You hear it all the time: “sugar rots your teeth.” But what exactly does sugar do to your teeth and why is it so bad for you? Most people don’t realize just how much impact candy and sugar have on teeth.
Many believe that it’s okay to eat candy and other sugary treats every now and then. And, while the occasional indulging of the sweet tooth is definitely not harmful, consumption of sugar can be dangerous to your teeth and health.
If you don’t stay in control of your sugar consumption, your put your teeth at risk for tooth decay and cavities. Worse, it is increasingly clear that sugar consumption is also linked to a wide variety of serious health issues.
To let you know a little bit more, and perhaps to give you some ammunition in your fight against too much sugar, Thornton Dental would like to offer the following information about the effects of sugar, as well as some sure-fire tips to reduce your sugar consumption and decrease its harmful effects.
Why is Sugar so Dangerous?
People who get between 10 and 25 percent of their calories from added sugar are almost three times more likely to die of heart problems than those who consumed less than 10 percent of their calories from sugar, researchers reported earlier this year in a major medical journal. Excess sugar is also associated with inflammatory chemicals that raise heart disease risk, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
And we all know that sugar is bad for oral health. When bacteria feeds on sugar it sticks to your teeth, eventually causing plaque that can lead to cavities, tooth loss, and even bone damage.
Tips for Cutting Back
According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day, and men no more than 36 grams. When we begin to break down daily food products and think about the sugar content in a typical soda or cereal, we realize this is no easy task.
In order to reduce our intake, a whole lot of nutrition label reading is required. A good rule of thumb is to ignore products whose sugar serving size is greater than 9 grams. You’ll be surprised to see how many products this cuts out immediately. Also, look out for “hidden” sugars such as corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose or crystal dextrose, maltose, lactose, sucrose, glucose, and even evaporated cane juice or fruit juice.
Don’t let pretty packaging and phrases like “natural” or even “organic” fool you. Be sure to flip over the package and read the ingredient list word-for-word. Oftentimes these foods have a surprisingly high amount of sugar.
Don’t Drink Your Sugars. To significantly cut back on sugar intake, be careful what you drink. Processed fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas, and coffee drinks provide little to no nutritional value, and empty calories that don’t do anything to curb your appetite. When you’re thirsty, opt for water.
Steer Clear Of Fat-Free Products. Products that are low-fat, reduced-fat or fat-free are almost always full of sugar. Fat tastes good and the reduction or removal of this nutrient means the food industry needs to swap in a sweetening ingredient so it still tastes good.
Retrain Your Tastebuds. Once you’ve removed sugar from your diet, your tastebuds will likely become more sensitive to even the subtle sweetness inherent in natural fruits and vegetables. Give this some time and you may be surprised by the results.
Cold turkey is difficult! Be prepared for symptoms similar to skipping your morning coffee. Be patient and keep in mind that it takes an average of 14 days to create a new habit.
Preventing Cavities Caused by Sugar
Even though sugar is in almost everything we eat, it is possible to prevent tooth decay by:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice each day
- Cleaning between your teeth at least once each day
- Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash. After consuming sugar, rinse your mouth with water to minimize damage.
- Avoiding food and drinks high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, juice and sweets, in between meals.
- Cut back on alcohol – Alcoholic drinks account for 11% of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar. Try to moderate the amount of alcoholic drinks you drink and chase your drinking with water.
- See your Thornton Dental dentist at least twice a year for teeth cleaning and check-ups
Your Trusted Dentist in Thornton
Thornton Dental is committed to the promotion of good dental health and the education of all patients to help them achieve a beautiful, healthy smile for life.
All procedures at Thornton Dental are carried out using state-of-the-art equipment in modern, friendly facilities, which offer the convenience of extended opening hours.
Thornton Dental serves the community of Thornton, Beresfield, Tarro, Woodberry, East Maitland, Chisholm, Raymond Terrace, Green hills, Metford, Ashtonfield, Tenambit, Morpeth, Lorn, Bolwarra Heights, and surrounding areas of Maitland.