With 2017 coming to a close, you may be joining millions of Americans who make resolutions for things they would like to do differently in 2018. Improving health is often at the top of the list, including oral health. One change you can make to improve your health in the new year is to reduce your sugar intake. This might sound simple, but it can be challenging if you’re addicted to sugar.
Reducing or eliminating sugar is also difficult when you don’t even know that you’re consuming it. This can happen when food manufacturers describe sugar by another name such as fructose, corn syrup, glucose, maltose, molasses, sucrose, or hydrolyzed starch. We recommend getting into the habit of reading food labels so you know exactly how much sugar you’re putting into your body. Not only does excess sugar increase your risk of tooth decay, it can also increase the likelihood of developing long-term diseases like diabetes.
Here are some other suggestions for cutting back on sugar:
Eat a protein-heavy breakfast and skip the sugary cereals: It might shock you to learn that some breakfast cereals have more sugar than anything else. They can be high in carbohydrates as well, which means you’re likely to feel hungrier sooner. Consuming foods rich in protein, such as eggs, yogurt, vegetables, or low-fat meat, gives you a better start to the day.
Don’t assume a fat free food is a better alternative: Foods advertised as low in fat are often high in sugar. Before you toss the item in your grocery cart, make sure that you check the sugar content. This includes alternative names for sugar listed above.
Don’t graze throughout the day: Did you know that it takes a full hour for your mouth to return to its pre-eating or pre-drinking state? If you don’t leave enough time between meals and snacks, your mouth doesn’t have the chance to rid itself of excess sugar. Three mid-sized meals and two light snacks per day should be plenty to keep you feeling satisfied.
Remember that alcohol contains a lot of sugar: If you consume more than a few alcoholic beverages several times a week, it increases your risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems. Besides cutting down on alcohol consumption, we recommend that you drink a glass of water with each beverage that you do decide to drink as this helps to rinse sugar from your teeth.
Consider adjusting your bedtime routine: People who stay up late tend to snack more and skip brushing their teeth before bed. You can eliminate this problem by going to bed earlier and waking up early to eat a healthy breakfast.
Resolve to Keep Your Bi-Annual Cleaning Appointments in 2018
Even when you brush and floss daily, you still need a professional cleaning to get your teeth as white and as healthy as possible. It’s also a good opportunity to ask our staff for advice on things like cutting back on sugar. Crossland Dental Associates looks forward to seeing you at your preventive care exam in the new year.