Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

Sugar and your teeth

Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your body, but sugar and your teeth are a combination that can wreak havoc on your smile. You can enjoy the fun of the holiday season by remembering to eat sweets in moderation. Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and other health issues. Practice dedicated oral hygiene habits to protect your teeth from the dangers of sweets and to teach your children to do the same!

The Sugar Epidemic

The amount of sugar Americans are now consuming is well over the recommended daily amount.  Habit-forming sugar-filled foods have us in their clutches. Yes, it is addictive. How addictive?  According to brain scans, sugar is just as addictive as cocaine.

A form of sugar is in almost everything we eat, but you can conquer its hold on you by taking an active role in knowing how to monitor your consumption of it.  Taking action now will boost both your oral health and your overall health as well and will ripple down to how your children sugar in their lives. The relationship between sugar and your teeth can have far-reaching affects.

Is it is estimated that 130 pounds of sugar are consumed per person each year. While a little bit of sugar doesn’t do much harm, too much can negatively impact your health–and we aren’t just talking about cavities here.  Sugar consumption puts you at higher risk for coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. The doctors at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies want your oral health AND your overall health to thrive–they do, in fact, relate to one another.

 

Sugar and Your Teeth: How Does Sugar Relate to Cavities?

When it comes to sugar and your teeth, it isn’t as much the amount of sugar you are consuming but frequency and timing of consumption.  Sugar from juices or sodas is able to slip between the hard to reach parts of your teeth and mouth–areas that can only be cleaned with a good flossing and even then can be difficult to remove.  

Even with regular oral hygiene, sugar and your teeth are a bad combination.  Left to fester on your teeth, it feeds hungry bacteria which leads to tooth decay and cavities.  High-sugar-content foods deposit large amounts of sugar on your teeth that your natural saliva production can’t remove.

Diets lacking vital nutrients make it harder for your mouth to resist infection.

What to Do About Sugar to Protect Your Teeth

Since sugar is in almost everything we eat, it you can’t avoid it entirely. BUT there are things you can do to help reduce the impact of sugar on your teeth and in your diet:

  • Vary what you eat. Daily nutrition from the five major food groups can help you avoid too much sugar. Go for fresh, natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables instead of processed/refined sugars. Sugar cravings often stem from a lack of protein in your diet so make sure you are getting adequate amounts.
  • Track it. Use an app like MyFitnessPal or use a journal to track how much sugar you are eating. You will be surprised to see what items that you regularly consume may need to be swapped out for lower-sugar options. Read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars.
  • Drink adequate water. A recent study showed that nearly half of Americans are not getting enough water each day even though we have plenty of it. It is recommended that you get at least half your weight in ounces of water every day. More if you exercise or on hot days.
  • Track your snacking. If you are eating all day and not brushing after each snack your teeth are constantly bombarded with the bacteria that forms from the food you eat and sugars. If you are a snacker, reach for healthy snacks like raw vegetables and fruits. Cheese is especially helpful as it has been shown to reduce the acid attacks on your teeth.
  • Limit artificial sweeteners. If something is claiming to be low-sugar or sugar-free beware! Artificial sweeteners still can create acidic environments in your mouth and have been connected with various health risks.
  • Make oral hygiene a priority. Prevention is the best way to treat cavities. Brush your teeth after meals, floss your teeth in the morning and at night. Use a mouthwash after your cleaning routine to remove other particles you couldn’t reach.
  • Regularly visit your dentist. Visit a Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and a comprehensive examination.

Sugar and Your Teeth: Call for a Consultation

If you’d like to know more about what you can do to balance sugar and your teeth health, or if you’d like to make an appointment to assess how healthy your teeth currently are, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-8425. You can also reach us after office hours by submitting a contact or appointment request online using the form below.

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