It’s officially October, and that means Halloween is only a couple weeks away. Then there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, which all have one thing in common – your teeth are under attack by all the sugar you consume! To make sure you know just what all that sugar is doing to your body, this iteration of Smarter Smiles with HomeTown Dental is all about sugar and your dental health.
How Sugar Affects Teeth
Okay, let’s get a couple of things straight. First of all, as humans, we need some sugar just to simply keep our bodies functioning, but we exceed the healthy levels of intake every day. Secondly, sugar doesn’t actually cause cavities and tooth decay. It simply just sets the stage for all that to happen. When you consume foods or drinks high in sugar, the bacteria in your mouth go wild over that sugar and use all that sweetness to create acids that dissolve and damage teeth and gums.
Sugary Drinks vs Sugary Snacks
This may surprise some parents, but that can of soda or juice is more than likely worse for your child’s teeth than that cookie. We’re bringing this up to point out that we’re much more likely to drink our sugar than we are to eat it. Plus, if you cut out sweets but still drink sodas, you aren’t really making that big of a change. Even a 16-ounce bottle of SunnyD Original contains 28 grams of sugar, which is the same as six Oreo cookies.
Healthy Sugar Intake
So with sugar seemingly surrounding us, it raises the question, “What is a healthy amount of sugar to consume?” According to the World Health Organization, a healthy sugar intake should be no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. You’d be surprised just how easy it is to double, triple or quadruple those numbers in a single meal or snack time. In 2008, the average American consumed 76.7 grams of sugar per day, which is just astronomically high.
Cutting Out Excess Sugar
Now that you know all of this, what can you do to cut back on the amount of sugar you and your family consume? You’d be surprised that while sugar is seemingly inescapable, it isn’t impossible to drastically cut back. However, it may be harder to do that during the holiday season, so use these simple tips to lessen the impact of sugar on your oral health.
Aside from cutting back on the sugar, it would also be wise to visit your local family dentist to make sure none of you have any cavities or early signs of tooth decay.
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