In a society where sugar related problems are becoming so prevalent, what can we do to limit our sugar intake and not get caught out overindulging? Here are some tips to limit the amount of sugar in our diets, reducing the damage it has on our teeth, waistlines and overall wellbeing.
Sugar can go by many names
There are many ‘hidden’ sugars that go by many names and recognising them is the first step to avoiding them. A few to look out for are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolysed starch and corn syrup.
Switch to a healthier breakfast
Most breakfast cereals contain high levels of sugar. Consider switching to a lower sugar cereal or one with no added sugar. Be adventurous and change from a cereal to a healthy alternative such as avocado and eggs. As breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, it is important to have a nutrient rich breakfast to set you up for the rest of the day by delaying hunger, and reduce the desire to reaching for sweet snacks.
Have a healthy snack & avoid grazing.
Avoid the biscuits if you need to snack. Instead. reach for a handful of nuts or fruit which will provide that energy boost you need. Remember when it comes to your teeth, it’s not only about how much sugar but also about how often. It takes an hour for our mouth to return to a neutral pH level after eating or drinking and every time we have another mouthful the cycle starts again. So, if a sugar fix is needed keep it to mealtimes and give your mouth a break.
Double check the healthy alternative
‘Fat-free’ products are marketed as a ‘healthy alternative’, but claims on packaging are only telling part of the story. Often products such as fat free yoghurts still contain high levels of sugars in the form of fructose or refined sugar. Check what really is in your food.
Set ground rules
By making some simple lifestyle changes, such as not eating in the hour before you go to bed, avoiding adding sugar to your food and limiting desserts to a few times a week, the benefits will soon add up.
When it comes to our teeth fresh, raw whole foods are best. The stickier the food, the worse it is for your teeth. For example, by whizzing fruit into a smoothie it releases the sugars which then are able to coat the whole tooth, including tiny gaps. Another culprit is dried fruit. The fruit particles (high in sugars) can get right in those gaps giving the sugar a huge amount of time to cause problems. Sometime these sticky foods can’t be avoided. The best way to manage it is to rinse your mouth out with water after having such things, allowing your mouth to return to its neutral pH.
Whether it’s that pint of cider, glass of prosecco or even a cheeky G&T, the sugar in alcoholic drinks can have a huge impact on our oral health. Try to moderate the amount of alcoholic drinks you have and also have some water nearby to help wash some of the sugar from the mouth, and staying hydrated at the same time.
You Can Do It!
Making changes and sticking to them can make a huge impact over time on many aspects of your health. While you’re making improvements to your lifestyle, take the time to implement preventative care for your teeth. Prevention is key for a healthy smile which is vital for your overall health, and that’s priceless!