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.
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.
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!