The Not So Sweet Truth: How Sugar Affects Your Smile (& what YOU can do about it!)
Sugar: sweet, tasty… and not so great for your teeth! Sugar is found in so many of our favorite snacks, but the truth is – too much of it can cause some serious damage to your oral, and overall health. Read on to learn the effects sugar can have on your teeth, and what you can do to keep your smile healthy and sparkling.
Sugar & Your Smile
Your mouth is full of bacteria – many of which are beneficial, while others, harmful. That ‘bad’ bacteria feeds on the sugar you consume, creating acids that attack and damage your tooth enamel – the protective, shiny, outer layer of your teeth. Acids can lead to cavities, cause holes in your teeth, and cause potential tooth loss and pain.
The good news? Your mouth is continually working to reverse the damage! The good bacteria (often found in your saliva!) works to restore and strengthen your teeth. The key is to limit the amount of sugars you are putting into your both and body, that will positively impact both your smile, as well as your overall health.
Sugar is Sugar – no matter the name or form!
Honey, molasses, oh so tasty maple syrup…. no matter the title, no matter the form – the cold hard truth is: sugar can cause cavities. Beware of sly marketing or pseudonyms designed to trick you… many manufacturers attempt sneaky strategies to deceive consumers into thinking that their products are low in sugar, or ‘healthy’. Names to look out for include: fructose, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrate.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Sugar Intake?
First things first, be more mindful of your diet. You may not realize how much sugar you are consuming on a daily basis – that alone can have a huge impact on your sugar intake. Take a look at the ingredients of the products you are consuming, be aware of so-called ‘healthy snacks’ – you can easily cut back on how much sugar you are consuming by becoming more informed and mindful about your diet.
Homemade can be healthier! Instead of purchasing cookies, granola bars, smoothies and other snacks from a store – try making them yourself at home. This will ensure your ingredients are fresh, and lower in sugar – have some fun in the kitchen and experiment with some new recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Be gentle with yourself. Indulging in a slice of cake, a chocolate bar, or a cookie on occasion is nothing to fret about! If you are enjoying one of your favorite sweet treats, we suggest having a glass of water after – this can help neutralize the acids in your mouth and reduce the impact sugars can have on your teeth. Even better? Give your teeth a brush and floss if you can!
Be sure to make regular trips to your dentist – they can detect small problems before they become big ones; and can offer professional, individualized advice on how to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
To healthy, happy smiles!
Dr. Ed Lowe
The Lowe Centre for Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry