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sugar and dentist

Sugar! A Love-Hate Relationship with your Teeth

It is well known that sugar is bad for your dental health. When you consume sugar, the bacteria in your mouth can use it as a source of energy to form plaque, which can increase in thickness and size. The sugar can also be utilized by the bacteria to adhere to the surface of your teeth, making it difficult for your saliva to wash it away.

Why Do We Crave Sugar?

It is also popular knowledge that we consume a lot of sugar. It provides our brain with the energy it needs to be healthy and functional. However, even too much a good thing can be bad. If we consume too much sugar, we are exposing ourselves to a wide range of health issues, including dental problems.

Tips for Reducing Your Sugar Intake

There is a strong link between excessive sugar consumption and poor oral health. Reducing the amount of sugar you consume and practicing an effective oral hygiene routine can limit the damage sugar can have on your teeth. Here are some ways you can decrease your sugar intake:

1. Read Food Labels

Take the time to read the labels of the foods you buy. Sugar is often added to prepackaged foods that don’t have a sweet taste, such as tomato sauces, salad dressings, crackers, and condiments. You should be aware that sweeteners can also include molasses, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dried cane syrup and that food can contain more than one type of sweetener.

2. Set a Daily Sugar Intake Limit

Once you are conscious of the amount of sugar that is in the foods and drinks you consume, set a daily limit for your sugar intake and stick with it. You can use the USDA dietary recommendations regarding daily sugar intake for men and women as guidelines.

3. Buy Unsweetened

Opt for foods and drinks that are unsweetened or that have no added sugars. You will be able to find unsweetened alternatives for many common foods, including milk and canned fruit, in the grocery stores.

4. Eat Fresh

Try to eat the fresh and healthy versions of food as much as you can. While fresh foods have natural sugars, their sugar content is far less than what is in prepackaged food. Eating fresh and healthy foods can also keep your stomach fuller longer, which can reduce the urges for sugar.

5. Fool Your Taste Buds

Try flavoring your foods and drinks with spices instead of sugar. Mint, vanilla bean extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg can please your taste buds and help you fight against the cravings for sugar. If you need a sweet taste, use just a dollop of honey, which is a little healthier than sugar.

6. Avoid Eating Sugar Right before Bed

Consuming sugar and then going to bed without brushing your teeth will give the bacteria in your mouth all night to feed on the sugar that remains in your mouth. Make a habit of brushing your teeth right before you go to bed a part of your oral health routine.

Being persistent with limiting your sugar intake can benefit you in many ways. Coupled with a daily oral health routine, it can prevent the negative effects sugar has on your teeth.