We all know sugar is bad for our teeth, which is why so many of our dental visits result in being sugar-related problems! However, the message that is too well known amongst us all – reduce the amount of sugar consumed in a diet and it will help to reduce the damage caused to our teeth, with a bonus of helping to keep away a few pounds too!
While we offer the advice to cut back, we know how hard it is when there’s often too much temptation around us to indulge in a quick energy fix of a biscuit or treat, so we’ve put together some simple tips to follow to help cut back on how much sugar you possibly unknowingly consume on a daily basis!
Sweeteners and all the other fancy names for it – is still sugar
Although we all think of sugar as the pretty sparkly stuff we add into our teas and coffees, there are many ‘hidden’ sugars within the foods we eat on a day to day basis, including sandwiches and take-away meals! It can go by many names and confusing words on the back of the packaging, but common names to watch out for are sucrose, glucose, maltose, fructose, corn syrup and hydrolysed starch amongst many others.
Start your day smart, eat right.
With as much controversy as Jamie Oliver caused when he made the mass public aware of how much sugar is actually in breakfast cereals, a lot of us are guilty to also adding sugar to the likes of our cornflakes and rice krispies, and this where we are doing the most damage! Switching to a lower / no added sugar breakfast cereal or changing to have another source of protein, carbs and fibre in the morning to keep you going is one way a) keep yourself fuller for longer meaning less snacks throughout the morning including the temptations of 11am tea and biscuits, and b) reduce the amount of impact you are causing to your dental health by avoiding or limiting down how often your teeth come into contact with sugar beginning from early morning!
We reach for the biscuit packet numerous times of the day when we have a cuppa in front of us, but for the mid-morning and 3pm sugar hit that you need while you’re stuck at the desk – switch to a handful of nuts instead! Nuts are high in fibre and healthy fats but also a source of protein to help keep you fuelled without the masses of unhealthy calories or sugary addictions affecting your diet too much.
A lot of the time of us feeling hungry, we are actually just thirsty. So it may also be an idea to have a glass of water first before having the usual 11am tea or coffee and snack.
Control the midnight munchie cravings
Let’s face it, we all at one point or another have visited the fridge or sweet cupboard at midnight before when we wake up again feeling a little peckish. Controlling those midnight cravings has more of an impact on your dental health as well as overall body more than you know! Set some ground rules of trying not to eat anything sugary at least 1-2 hours before bed and limit down the amount of desserts you’re having in a week! Also – try to bring the bedtime clock slightly earlier. If you’re consistently up for longer hours in the day and hitting the hay late, your body almost tricks you into thinking you need to eat as it’s been X amount of hours since you’ve last had anything to snack on. Sugar is an addiction, limiting down how much you come into contact with it (added sugars mainly), cuts down how much you actually ‘crave’ it.
Actually have at least 3 meals a day
We’ve all skipped breakfast at some point – but have you ever noticed the days you skip you tend to eat more? Simply allowing an extra 10minutes of the day to have something to eat before you even begin the usual rush around helps to cut out the fix for needing something sugary to keep us going. Foods higher in fibre provide longer lasting energy and if you really need that added something – pick a black coffee or green tea to keep you going without reaching for the normal energy drinks!
Although sugar is everywhere, it helps to monitor your intake of it – particularly where added sugars come into play. The likes of your 5 a day are friendly sugars, but to help monitor we recommend using dietary apps such as MyFitnessPal or others to log how much sugar you have on a daily and where you can source other energy from. A craving for sugar consistently may be replace by simply having more carbs and proteins throughout the day to have more satisfying meals, less calorie loaded snacks and happy and healthy tum and teeth!
Don't forget you to keep up with your regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments which are available to book online or simply call the clinic on 01708 477 577.