If you are consuming large amounts of sugar in your daily diet you may be jeopardizing your oral health. Sugar feeds bacteria which leads to plaque build-up, tooth decay, and gum disease. Most Americans consume more sugar than is recommended for a balanced and healthy diet. Sugary eating habits include consuming sugary drinks, sweet snacks or desserts, rather than meals, and are the common reasons why Americans consume too much sugar. In the United States added sugars make up to 17 percent of an adult’s diet, and 14 percent of what children eat. Dropping these discretionary foods from your diet with healthier choices will bring your sugar consumption down and help you maintain a healthy diet and teeth.
Here are some recommendations to help you keep a healthy diet and your sugar intake to a minimum:
Healthy Breakfast Choices
- Choose whole-grain cereal or oatmeal instead of cereals coated with sugar or honey.
- Try topping your cereal with fresh fruit or natural honey instead of sprinkling sugar over your cereal.
- If you eat toast for breakfast consider topping it with banana slices or low-fat cream cheese instead of sugary jam or honey.
- Check the ingredients label on the back of the package in the grocery store and choose foods that include lower amounts of sugar and added sugars.
- Be aware that added sugar may be listed in a variety of ways on a label including corn syrup. fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.
- Ingredients are often listed from highest to lowest amounts in a product on the label, so if you see sugars listed high up on the label, there’s a chance the product is loaded with sugar.
Healthy Snack Choices
- Choose fruit with natural sugar over sweets such as ice cream, cakes, cookies, and other sugary snacks, since consuming natural sugars is less likely to result in tooth decay.
- Choose plain yogurt or low-sugar yogurt and puddings.
- If you purchase packaged fruit, choose those products that are submerged in water rather than syrup.
Healthy Drink Choices
- Soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juice contribute up to 44 percent of sugar in American diets. Cutting back on sugary drinks will greatly reduce your sugar intake since a typical soft drink contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar.
- Some better lower-sugar drink options include plain water, sparkling water with fresh lime or lemon, water with mint and cucumber, tea, coffee, or herbal teas.
- Drinking milk is good for the health of your teeth since it contains calcium that helps strengthen tooth enamel which protects against tooth decay.
Schedule your next cleaning and checkup today to help you maintain a healthy and bright smile for years to come. Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to address all your oral health care issues. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.