5 Tips to Reduce Sugar and have a Healthy Diet

healthy diet with Jannali Dental care

Plaque is a thin, translucent film of horrible bacteria that coats the tooth surface. When sugar and starchy foods encounter plaque, it reacts with the bacteria to form acids that erode tooth enamel and cause decay. That’s it in a nutshell.

Naturally, more sugar you consume, the more acids are produced and over time this leads to more tooth decay.

A PERFECT STORM of ‘nasties’ for your teeth.

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is not only beneficial for your teeth but also your health in general. Healthy eating generally means a healthy life.

Here are 5 tips to slash sugar from your diet. Even just doing ONE of these is a good start.

TIP#1: OPT FOR A SUGAR FREE BREAKFAST

There are high levels of sugar in many brekky cereals so read the labels. Switching to lower level of sugar or no added sugar cereals will have a positive impact on your dental and overall health.

Go for unsweetened versions of common foods like oatmeal and fruits.

Be mindful of too many sultanas and raisins. They can get stuck in between the grooves and crevices of your teeth, where they cause decay.

Dried fruit/ fruit bars/ muesli bars are a perfect storm of stickiness and chewiness. The gooey bits are practically made for getting stuck between teeth and can be incredibly sweet. Bad combination.

TIP#2: RECOGNISE SUGAR CONTENT

Read food labels. So important.

5mg sugar is about 1 teaspoon. When a food says 25mgs sugar per serve, that’s approximately 5 teaspoons!

There are many hidden sugars in certain food items. Tomato sauce, salad dressings, condiments – all have sugar. Make sure you read the food label of the product where they have listed the contents and quantity of sugar. If it’s bad – simply don’t buy it.

Simples.

You will need to look for more than just the word ‘Sugar’ as it hides under various tricky names like sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses and corn syrup.

TIP#3: BE SMART & SNACK WISELY

You have already eaten your breakfast and it’s still time for the lunch but you can’t stop craving something to eat.

Don’t rush out to Donut King for unhealthy options like donuts, cakes, lollies, biscuits and other sugary foods which cause tooth decay. Choose to snack smartly with fresh fruits, raw vegetables like carrots, cucumber or a handful of nuts which will provide that energy boost you need.

Remember to choose sugary food less often and avoid them between meals.

TIP#4: SAY YES TO HEALTHY DRINKS (and NO to the rest)

Sweetened drinks with high sugar content put you at a risk of tooth decay, weight gain and other health issues. Avoiding aerated or sugar drinks is a good idea but that is not the only sugar packed drink out there. Watch out for those energy drinks high in sugar and too much caffeine!

Don’t swish acidic drinks or hold them in your mouth – this exposes the teeth to acids for longer than necessary.

Make sure you try to moderate the amount of sugary drinks you consume and prefer healthy drinks like a smoothie, or even better, good old H2O.

TIP#5: HIT THE SACK EARLY

Brushing & flossing your teeth immediately after dinner serves as a reminder that you are not supposed to eat again.

The cool fresh toothpaste feeling in your mouth deters you from actually grabbing mid night snacks or scouting the refrigerator late for desserts and ice cream. Being a night owl can be detrimental so make sure you fix a time when you are supposed to head to the bed and stick to it.

Sometimes a cup of chai tea in the evening can help crave that evening sugar hit.

Don’t Forget…

Cutting down on sugar feels like an impossible task but your taste buds will adjust. And it doesn’t take long.

For your yogurt, mix half a serving of sweetened yogurt with half a serving of plain, and eventually move on to adding natural sweetness with fresh fruit.

If you normally put two sugars in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally only add your milk.

You will be surprised how quickly you get used to dropping the amount of sugar in your diet – and doing yourself, your waistline, and your teeth, a huge favour.

It’ s a case of all in moderation. Enjoying a Mars Bar occasionally isn’t a bad thing BUT just don’t go overboard -and make sure you follow through with proper oral care after consuming that treat.

Make sure that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and an electric toothbrush, floss regularly and follow good oral hygiene. And of course, regular checkups with the crazy needle-phobic Jannali Dental Care Team.

We will look after you!

How often do you floss?

Did you know that less than 5% of the Aussie population regularly floss their teeth?

And many of us floss just twice a year – the night before our 6 monthly dental check-up.

DOES THAT SOUND LIKE YOU?  It is so common I have even given this habit it’s own special name –  the #guiltyfloss or also known as the #panicfloss. 

The Australian Dental Association encourages us to floss every day for a clean and healthy mouth – but if daily flossing is not realistic for you, then try to floss at least once a week. 

Flossing properly removes plaque and food particles where a toothbrush simply can’t reach.  (Even if you are the most diligent tooth-brusher EVER!)

Between your teeth and under your gum line there is a place that is very hard to reach; and a buildup of plaque in those unreached areas can make your gums inflamed, lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss – in extreme cases.

So don’t just floss when food gets stuck.  I am going to ask you to make it part of your routine.  Just like cleaning your teeth, or having a daily shower. Or watching the latest Game of Thrones.

In order to get the most benefit out of your flossing,  just follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Get a piece of floss approximately 30cm in length and wrap it around both middle fingers, with more on one finger than the other. Leave 5 or 10cm of floss to utilise.
  2. Hold the dental floss tightly between your thumb and index finger, slide it between your teeth up-and-down gently.
  3. Glide the dental floss between your teeth using a zig-zag motion, making sure to go gently beneath the gum line. Do not use too much pressure and cause bleeding or damage your gums.
  4. Move from tooth to tooth, repeating the process and DO NOT FORGET your very back teeth!  I know its dark back there, but they also deserve some love.

Floss picks have also grown in popularity the last few years, and are pretty easy to use if you prefer.  Dental water jets are another way to encourage flossing.

But good old floss is just as effective – and cheaper. And in many ways, better.

Should I stop flossing if my gums bleed?

 

Seeing blood when you floss can be a little scary, but some bleeding is totally normal. It’s definitely not a reason to quit flossing.

Bleeding can also alert you to some potential problems. Some people bleed because they’re flossing too enthusiastically. If you bleed alot, try to be gentler and see whether you bleed less.

People with gum disease bleed more than others when they floss. Take a close look at your gum line and see whether it looks inflamed. If you think you might have gum disease, give us a call at our Jannali Dental practice on  9528 9204 so we can check it out.

Does flossing make receding gums worse?

 

There’s no truth to the myth that flossing exacerbates receding gums.

In fact, flossing can actually prevent gums from receding, since it cleans food particles and bacteria from below the gum line. That makes flossing CRUCIAL for people with hereditary receding gums and gingivitis.

If your gums are already receding, flossing daily can help prevent further damage.

Bear in mind though that over-zealous flossing CAN be hazardous to gum recession so speak to us if you need advice on your flossing technique.

Be thorough, but be gentle.

Should I still floss if I have braces?

 

So you, or your child has braces?  I am the first to agree that braces can make flossing challenging. But failing to floss for the months or years that you have braces is a bad idea.

Just imagine how much food and bacteria will be stuck between your teeth by the time you get your braces off!   (And yep it could be a bit smelly too.)

If you find flossing with braces difficult, let us at Jannali Dental Care help you perfect your technique.  Remember, we are here to guide and help you with you oral hygiene.

We hope with these helpful tips that flossing becomes an easier, more routine process for you.

Remember that a dental checkup is still necessary even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, so contact the best dentist in Jannali, today!  That’s us, Jannali Dental Care, of course!

Give us a call on  (02)  9528 9204 to make an appointment OR if you’d rather not ring, feel free to email us at info@jannalidentalcare.com.au OR click HERE to leave us a message and we will call you back.