Sugar is a known culprit in tooth decay, and the more added sugar you consume, the more at risk you could be for tooth decay . While consuming sugar in moderation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, making it a staple in your diet can wreak havoc on your oral health.
Reducing or eliminating added sugar in your diet can certainly go a long way toward protecting your teeth and gums. But how can you reduce your sugar consumption to save your smile?
Here are some top tips to help you get started!
Knowing how much extra sugar you’re consuming is a good place to start when trying to kick your sugar habit. Added sugar can hide in foods that are often marketed as being healthy or natural, such as yogurts, granola bars, and salad dressings.
There’s also a difference in sugar content between traditionally sweet foods and treats. For example, a typical serving of dark chocolate can contain as few as two grams of sugar while a typical cookie can contain 11 grams, and a slice of cake, 31 grams .
So shopping mindfully and reading nutrition labels can help you determine how much added sugar is sneaking into your daily diet. If you don’t have sugar close to hand, it can make it easier to kick the habit when a craving strikes!
Focus on Fruits
A lot of fruits (and veggies too!) contain high amounts of water, which means you can still enjoy something sweet without ruining your teeth. Fruits still contain natural sugars, but their water content can act as a buffer between teeth and the sugar and acids in fruits, helping to protect your tooth enamel.
For example, a peach contains 89% water and apples contain about 86% . So instead of reaching for a sweetened yogurt or candy, focus on fruits. Fruits also contain beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants that can support not just oral health, but your overall health too!
Drink Plenty of Water
Water can help you stay hydrated and feel full, so it may help reduce impulse snacking on sweets. It’s easy to think you’re hungry when really you’re thirsty, so before reaching for sugar, try drinking a glass of water and waiting to see if you still feel hungry .
Water is also beneficial for your oral health in general—water helps prevent dry mouth, which can increase your risk for cavities. Drinking plenty of water when eating can also prevent acids from food from damaging your tooth enamel, making it a smart beverage choice even when you’re not avoiding sugar!
Have You Thought About Quitting Sugar?
If you’ve considered quitting sugar, this dietary change can have big benefits for your dental health. However, you don’t have to cut out all sugar to experience the benefits—you can simply reduce your consumption and enjoy sugar in moderation to protect your smile!