It’s no secret that too much sugar is bad for your teeth. But how much is too much and what can you do to cut your sugar intake? Americans consume an average of 20 teaspoons of sugar each day. This is not only bad for your oral health, but your overall health as well. However, sometimes it is hard to avoid sugar with sodas, candies, and cookies tempting you everywhere you go. Don’t fear – we are here to help! We’re going to tell you what sugar can do to your teeth and what you can do to cut the sugar in your diet.
Why is sugar bad for my teeth?
Bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, and when sugar is consumed in excess over extended periods of time the bacteria produce acids that will destroy tooth enamel and cause decay. The acids do most of their damage directly after consuming sugar, so the more sugar you consume throughout the day, the more your teeth are affected by these acids.
How can I stop this from happening?
The answer seems simple – cut out all sugar. But there’s more to it than simply cutting out sweets. Eliminating sugar is nearly impossible, but you can reduce your sugar intake. Here’s how:
1. Read nutrition labels.
Sugar isn’t always as obvious as we assume. Of course cookies and candy have sugar in them, but what about those “healthy” granola bars you buy for the kids? Make sure you always read the labels and try to limit your sugar intake. Women should try to stay under 25 grams of sugar per day, and men should try to stay under 37.5 grams per day. Also look out for hidden sugars such as sucrose, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup when reading the ingredients list.
2. Look out for drinks.
Many people assume that if they’re not drinking soda, then sugar isn’t a problem. However, beware of the sugar in fruit juices, coffee, smoothies, etc. If you can drink it unsweetened, do it!
3. Watch the starches.
Did you know starches such as bread break down into sugar? Limit your intake of these too because they can cause tooth decay as well!
We hope you better understand how sugar influences your oral health and what you can do to prevent its adverse effects. Feel free to share any additional tips you can think of for limiting sugar intake!