Sugar has been well documented as being bad for your oral health . Sugar isn’t just acidic, but it causes oral bacteria to produce acids, which can attack tooth enamel. The result can be sensitive teeth, an increased risk for cavities, and tooth discoloration.
Unfortunately, added sugar is hiding in many foods and drinks that people consume daily. Although consuming some added sugar won’t necessarily hurt your smile, eating too much could affect your oral health. What changes can you make to your diet to reduce your sugar consumption? Here are some simple swaps to help you keep your smile healthy!
Eat Unsweetened Yogurt Instead of Sweetened
Although yogurt in and of itself isn’t unhealthy for you, sweetened yogurts tend to pack much more sugar than people realize. Sweetened yogurt can have up to 16 grams of added sugar per serving, which is more than half of the daily limit for added sugar in your diet .
Unsweetened yogurts, although more plain, tend to have a much lower sugar content, and you can always use healthy add-ins to create your own flavors, such as fresh fruit, granola, or nuts and seeds.
Drink Seltzer Water Instead of Soda
Soda not only is full of sugar, but it also tends to have a very low pH, meaning it can be very acidic and harm tooth enamel. Certain sodas can have a pH as low as 2.3, whereas 7 is neutral on the pH scale .
Instead of drinking soda, try seltzer water. Although seltzer water has a lower pH than regular tap water, it’s still carbonated, and comes in different flavors. However, regular water is always best to drink for your smile, and if you have fluoridated tap water, it may just help prevent cavities too!
Try Nut Butter and Dark Chocolate Instead of Baked Goods
Baked goods typically pack a lot of added sugar, but you don’t have to give up sweets completely to enjoy something yummy. Try making snacks with unsweetened nut butters such as peanut, almond, or cashew butter, which have healthy fats and protein for teeth.
Dark chocolate makes a great addition to nut butter and can be combined on its own, in baked treats, or as a frozen dessert. Theobromine, a compound in dark chocolate, has actually been shown to help reduce oral bacteria, so snack on !
Swap Ice Cream for Smoothies
Fruit smoothies and green smoothies contain beneficial fiber and antioxidants and have no added sugar compared to ice cream, but they can still be just as sweet! When you swap ice cream for smoothies, try blending fresh or frozen fruit with fresh greens such as spinach or kale with water or milk, and add any extras such as ginger or green tea powder for extra antioxidants.
What’s Your Daily Sugar Consumption?
Knowing how much sugar you consume can not only help you make changes in your diet to better protect your smile, but to maintain a healthy weight as well. Do you know what your daily sugar consumption is? Talk to your dentist about additional things you can do in your diet to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible!