Sugar causes tooth decay. It all starts with a chain of events. A group of harmful bacteria reside in the mouth and produce acid when they digest sugar. The acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque that will wear down your enamel over time while the repeated cycle of acid attacks in your mouth cause mineral loss in the enamel that can result in a cavity.
Factors like stress can make us crave sugary foods for quick energy or immediate reward. Sugar is addictive and the more you have, the more you crave. For that reason, we put together some things to watch out for that can really help you cut the sugar.
Be on the lookout for sugar by different names. Sugar is often hidden in foods and beverages by more technical sounding names like sucrose, glucose, maltose, fructose, molasses, corn syrup, and others. Take steps to read labels before consuming.
Watch the snacks
We understand that you get the urge to snack mid-morning, in the afternoon, and sometimes late at night. Those cravings hit a ton of us. If you need something to tide you over until that next planned meal, start with a glass of water and don’t reach for the cookies. Instead, grab a handful of nuts or hummus and veggies.
Beware the “fat-free” label
Many people switch to “fat-free” foods for their overall health but be wary. Fat-free products like yogurt can still contain high levels of fructose or refined sugar. Choose unsweetened yogurt or even a hardboiled egg instead of the alternative sweets.
You don’t need dessert with every meal. Pick your timing for sweets. It’s all about how often you eat sugar. Your mouth needs a break to return to a neutral state after eating or drinking and constant grazing can leave you fighting the cavities.
Coffee and other beverages
Cappuccinos, frothy lattes, and frappuccinos can definitely pack on the sugar. Take that a step further with other sugary beverages like soft drinks and energy drinks … even lemonade can pack a sugary punch. Where you can, opt for water and unsweetened ice tea.
Alcohol drinkers beware
No matter if you drink several beers in a night or enjoy ciders or other alcoholic beverages, nearly all of them contain sugar. This sugar can have a huge impact on your oral health. Try to be mindful of the number of alcoholic drinks you have and work some water in there for the sake of your teeth. It’ll also help you beat a headache the next day.
It’s important to take a look at our daily habits to really know what we’re putting into our bodies. You have to be patient with the process of cutting out sugar though. At first, you may feel extremely tired and irritable … that’s totally normal. But as time goes by, your energy levels will increase, and your dental checkups will get better and better!
Connoyer Dental is here to help you along the way. Ask your dentist for more advice when you come in for your cleanings. We hope to put you on a path to healthier teeth and gums immediately!