Most of us enjoy a sweet treat now and again, but for some people, sugar features in their everyday diet.
However, too much sugar will do your health — including that of your teeth and gums — no favours.
In this post, we’ll explain why it’s a good idea to cut down on the sweet stuff and how to stop your sugar addiction.
Why cut down on sugar?
To motivate you to cut down on sugar, it helps to know why.
Too much sugar in your diet has some serious health implications. One of the most obvious is that it leads to weight gain, as well as increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
It may also increase your chances of heart disease, fatty liver, cancer and even depression.
Not to mention the havoc it can wreak on your skin — excess sugar consumption has been linked to acne and may even contribute to the skin ageing process because it can damage the proteins collagen and elastin, which keep your skin supple (1).
What does sugar do to your teeth and gums?
And as dentists, it’s our job to warn patients of the effect of sugar on teeth and gums and your general dental health. The bacteria in your mouth feed off sugar and release acidic substances, which cause cavities and the breakdown of your teeth.
How can I cut down on sugar?
There are lots of ways to cut down on your sugar consumption while still enjoying your diet. Here’s what you can do:
- Be aware that sugar is often hidden in “healthy” foods and drinks like cereal bars and smoothies. Get used to reading labels so you understand how much sugar is in your food.
- Ditch fizzy drinks, energy drinks and sweetened tea and coffee for plain water or herbal teas.
- Swap sweetened yogurt for a plain version enhanced with fresh berries and other fruits.
- Snack on fruits, nuts and seeds instead of chocolate and other sugary snacks.
- Instead of having sweetened cereals in the morning, have a bowl of oats sprinkled with seeds and berries.
- Use natural nut butters instead of sweet spreads like jam.
- Go easy on alcoholic beverages like wine, which have high sugar content.
There’s one more thing…
Hopefully, our tips will inspire you to swap the sugar for more tooth- and gum-friendly foods and drinks.
And there’s one more thing we want to tell you — get to know your dentist! Stopping your sugar addiction can be challenging, but when you have the support of your dentist, it gets a whole lot easier.
Go and have that check-up so your dentist can pick up any issues linked to sugar consumption.
They can also advise you on great brushing techniques and other tips and tricks to keep the fillings at bay. Your dentist will also be a source of information about all aspects of your dental wellbeing including the link between gut and dental health.
If you’re due for a check-up, why not come and see us at Opal Dental? We’re your local dentist for the West Auckland area, providing a range of dentistry services, including children’s dental care through to every aspect of adult dental care.
Reach out to us and make that appointment. We can beat your sugar addiction together!
1. Healthline website, ‘11 Reasons Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You,’ 25 September 2022.