It is a well-known fact that sugar is bad for our teeth. Despite knowing this, sugar related dental problems are still the most widespread cause of poor oral health and disease. The important message to take home is simple and clear: reducing the amount of sugar will help to reduce the damage it can cause to our teeth. It will also help improve our waistlines and overall health.
But even here at Majewski Dental we are sometimes guilty of ignoring our own advice and indulging on sugary drinks and snacks. We know how tough it can be to stick to healthy diets, so we have compiled a few tips for cutting down on sugars in your diet.
We typically think of sugar as the white crystals we add to our tea, coffee, and baked goods. But there are many ‘hidden’ sugars in lots of things we would not even think of. Sugar can go by many names and recognizing them is the first step to avoiding them. There are too many to list but some to look out for are; sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch and corn syrup.
There are many breakfast foods out there that contain sugars in high percentages. Breakfast cereals, bars, muffins, syrups are loaded with sugars. Switching to a whole grain cereal with no added sugar or oats with no added sugar will have a huge impact on your dental and overall health. Eating a full, healthy breakfast also helps keep you full until lunch to avoid snacking on sugary foods in between meals.
In between meals it is best to snack with nuts, fruits, low fat proteins. The sugary snacks like chips, cookies, or muffins will only satisfy you temporarily and increase the risk of getting a cavity the more sugar you eat. Remember it’s not only about how much sugar we eat when it comes to your teeth it’s also about how often, so try opting for a sugar free alternative whenever possible.
Let’s be honest, we don’t need a sweet dessert every day! By setting a set of simple ground rules we can make some simple lifestyle changes which can have a huge effect. Simple things like, not eating in the hour before you go to bed, avoiding adding sugar to anything and making sure we avoid dessert a few times a week soon adds up.
When it comes to our teeth fresh whole foods are best, this all comes down to stickiness. Any bits and pieces that can stick in the grooves and spaces of our teeth will stick there until we clean it out. Fresh foods like raw fruits and veggies are more fibrous and less likely to stick in the grooves and spaces.
When it comes to our teeth it’s not only about how much sugar you eat it’s how often you have it. It takes an hour for our mouth to return to a neutral state after eating or drinking and every time we have another mouthful that time starts again. If you need your sweet, sugar fix its best to eat during mealtimes and give our mouths a break. Less frequent snack eating allows our saliva to do its job by cleaning and neutralizing the mouth.
People who stay up late are more likely to skip brushing before bed and with the added midnight snacking this could spell disaster for our teeth. It also isn’t good to eat late as our body and metabolism is winding down. You are more likely to gain weight when you snack late at night.
How many of us have skipped breakfast and then yearn for that sugary fix to get us through the day? This comes down again to giving our mouths a break to recover, have a filling and nutritious breakfast is the best way to start your day of right.
The sweet beverages wreak havoc on our teeth. The sugar coats are teeth and lingers until the saliva can do its job. The more frequent sipping of sweet drinks is even worse as your teeth never catch a break. Alcoholic drinks also contain high sugar content and should be consumed minimally.
Watching your sugar intake is not only beneficial for our overall health, but our teeth and mouths. As tough as it is to break the habit of eating and drinking sugary foods, its a habit that must be focused on for optimal health.