5 Easy Tips for Better Oral Health
Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Most of us do… and, yes, even dentists do. But we know that, like anything else, too much of a good thing isn’t good for us at all. So, whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or are looking to curb your sugar intake to lose weight—consuming less sugar is great for your oral health. Read on if you want to know how to reduce your sugar intake.
What’s So Bad About Sugar?
You have hundreds of natural bacteria in your mouth. This natural bacteria in your dental plaque works to turn sugar into acid in an oral environment. This acid then attacks the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. (And you may already know that once the protective enamel on your teeth breaks down, it can never be replenished.)
If you don’t take care of your teeth, they can eventually fall out or need to be removed in order to prevent infection. That’s why it’s important to be aware of how much sugar you consume in your daily diet to prevent any negative impact on your teeth and smile.
Let’s take a look at five great tips on how to reduce your sugar intake for healthier teeth and better health.
- Substitute Sugary Drinks
Soda and even fruit juice are both loaded with natural sugars and artificial sweeteners. Many drink manufacturers have reduced the sugar content in their drinks in recent years. However, many drinks, including regular soda, have excessively high sugar content.
We encourage you to check the label before you buy, and be aware of what you buy and consume. (Did you know that soda has chemicals that may cause cancer and other health issues—and may have chemicals not listed on the label?)
Your best bet is to opt for sugar-free drinks or just plain water. After a while, you won’t miss those sugary drinks—and you’ll even lose your taste for them.
- Reduce Sugary Foods
Cookies, cake, ice cream, pie, etc. Processed foods, including canned foods, may contain more sugar than you realize—even foods you wouldn’t think had sugar, like beans and salad dressing. A few other seemingly healthy buy high-sugar foods are smoothies, yogurt, pre-packaged oatmeal, and trail mix. “Hidden” sugars are disguised on the ingredients list by words that end in -ose. Fructose, sucrose, and other words that end in -ose are just other terms for sugar.
As with beverages, always check the label for sugar content before you buy and look for labels that say “sugar-free” or “no added sugar.”
- Opt for Fresh Fruit
Don’t let healthy fruit trick you. There’s a lot of sugar in fruit as well. Natural sugars are a better choice but can be just as harmful as sugar cane and other added sugars. Opt for fresh fruit versus canned fruit. When fresh fruit is not an option, choose fruit packed in natural juices rather than syrup.
We suggest rinsing your mouth with water after consuming any fruit to eliminate any sugars from sticking to your teeth.
- Skip the Added Sugar
Are you adding more sugar to your food? Spoonfuls of sugar on cereal, coffee, tea, etc.? This is another habit that might be tough to kick. If you are adding sugar to your food, try reducing the amount you add each week until it’s very minimal or none at all. It’s definitely an adjustment, but you’d be surprised that once you do adjust, your body doesn’t crave the sweet taste anymore.
BONUS: You can substitute added sugar with a natural sweetener, which may also have added health benefits:
- Maintain Healthy Habits
Maintaining healthy habits is another tool in your arsenal to protect your dental health.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily.
- Floss between your teeth at least once daily.
- Use an oral rinse or just water to remove sugary residue.
- Visit your dentist at least every six months to catch any decay early.
- Change your toothbrush every 3‒4 months, so you are brushing effectively.
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals to remove sugar residue and encourage saliva production for the same purpose. (Gum with sugar just feeds the bacteria in your mouth.)
By examining labels and practicing better eating habits, you’ll quickly determine which foods on the grocery shelves are a smarter and healthier purchase. And you’ll equip yourself with the tools to reduce your sugar intake for better oral health.
Now You Know How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake for Healthier Teeth
For your next appointment contact Peace Haven Family Dentistry.
We can’t wait to see you!
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