Checking in About Sugar
As the last days of summer wind down, let’s take a quick look at sugary foods in our diet. Summertime cold drinks, treats, and frequent snacks may have temporarily added sugar to our normal year-round diet.
Let’s remind ourselves that sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouths–creating acid which can damage tooth enamel and lead to decay. We can take a few simple steps to manage sugar in our diet and better protect our oral health. Here are some tips from Delta Dental Insurance and MouthHealthy – Oral Health – American Dental Association :
Easy Tips to Consider:
- Stay informed. Read labels and choose foods with no-added or reduced sugar.
- Avoid chewing ice which can chip a tooth and expose it to decay.
- Build healthy teeth by getting enough calcium with dairy or calcium fortified plant milks/cheeses.
- Boost saliva production by drinking water frequently during the day. Saliva helps keep your mouth clean.
- Ask us about fluoride.
- Have 1 or 2 snacks during the day rather that continuous snacking.
- Rinse your mouth with water after a sugary treat.
- And, of course, brush and floss twice a day.
Foods to manage or avoid and why:
- Avoid hard candy which can chip a tooth.
- Be aware that sticky foods like dried fruit cling to tooth surfaces.
- Be aware that sugar sodas, diet sodas and sports drinks all produce acid.
- Manage coffee and tea consumption. Excess caffeine reduces saliva.
- Reduce refined carbs like potato chips and white bread which quickly break down to simple sugars in your mouth.
- Manage alcohol consumption. Excess alcohol can reduce saliva.
- Manage citrus juice acid exposure by using a paper straw.
- Boost health and saliva with high fiber fruits and vegetables like apples.
- Boost saliva by chewing sugarfree gum containing xylitol.
- Continue a well rounded diet of healthy proteins and fats, complex carbs, fruits and veggies.
- Rinse your mouth with water frequently during the day.
Drink enough water every day. According to WebMD – Better information. Better health it’s recommended that a person drink ½ to one ounce of water for every pound of weight. For example if you weigh 100 pounds that’s 50-100 ounces of water a day or 6-12 glasses of water a day.