If you have a sweet tooth, you crave food and drink containing sugar. But sugar is the enemy of your teeth and health. Sugar-related dental problems remain one of the most widespread causes of poor oral and general health.
Ideally, we would eliminate most sugary foods and drink from our diet. This is difficult however, as sugar because seems to be added to virtually everything we eat – and it tastes good. So the key is to know how to balance sugar intake so that it does not negatively affect your life or health.
Main Beach Dental wants you to lead a healthy and happy life, with dental and general good health. One way to achieve this is to drastically reduce sugar consumption.
How Sugar Harms Your Health
A sugar-laden diet may raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you aren’t overweight. So says a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Over the course of the 15-year study on added sugar and heart disease, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar.
Clinical trials and studies have also shown that consuming added sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, tends to cause weight gain, a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Many other diseases, including cancer, are also statistically linked to sugar consumption.
Taking Control From Sugar
Here are 5 easy ways to get a better handle on your sugar intake:
- Read Labels Carefully. Sugar hides in places you might never guess. “Healthy” cereals, ketchup, chips, and even spaghetti sauces can be loaded with sugar. When reading labels watch for words like dextrose, sucrose, malted barley extract, and corn syrup – these mean sugars.
- Beware “Healthy” Foods. You may think that you’re eating healthier if you have an energy bar, smoothie, or yogurt. That may not be true. Many so-called “health” snacks are overflowing with sugar. Again, read those labels!
- Watch What You’re Drinking. Half of your sugar intake may come in your drinks. While soda pop is a major offender, be careful of fruit juices as well. Water is always good.
- Find Alternatives. Everyone’s tastes and lifestyles are so different, so experiment until you find YOUR OWN solution.
- Cut Back On Starches, Snack Foods And Bread. Both sugar and starch are carbohydrates. They both break down into sugars, and they both can promote tooth decay.
Be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Although it makes some people feel uncomfortable, keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat and drink can make you better aware of, high-sugar snacking habits that have become a part of your daily routine. Awareness is a major part of visualizing and altering your sugar consumption habits.
Choose “unsweetened” instead of “sugar-free” products. Most sugar-free products contain artificial sweeteners that come with their own sets of problems. A study conducted by Yale University discovered that eating artificially-sweetened foods can actually make you gain weight. Foods and beverages labeled “unsweetened” are generally better choices.
Curb your cravings by indulging in healthier food groups. Cutting back on sugar can lead to cravings, and one of the best ways to fight sugar craving is to eat more proteins and healthy fats like nuts, avocado, olive oil, and salmon or other fatty fish.
Be conscious of your choices when eating out. Monitoring sugar consumption at restaurants is a bit more complicated, because menus normally don’t contain complete nutritional information. But, once you get into the practice of reading food labels, it will become easier to guess what is sugar-filled and what is not. Avoiding the bread basket is another way to avoid added sugars.
Don’t try to go cold turkey. Cutting back drastically can cause tremendous cravings. This can in turn cause even the strongest-willed person to binge on sugary foods and drinks. Instead, cut back gradually.
The importance of good dental care. We all eat sugar now and then, and when we do the important thing is to make sure it does not harm us. After eating sugar or drinking sodas, rinse your mouth with water. Be sure to brush and floss regularly, and come see us at Main Beach Dental about your dental health – it’s an investment in your future!
Dental Care at Main Beach Dental
At Main Beach Dental your oral health is important to us. We provide gentle, expert care for all conditions and work to prevent disease, decay, and too many dentist appointments in the future.