Killing us softly: Sugar doesn’t only affect dental health
Here at City Smiles we care about our patients overall health as well as their dental hygiene
It’s old news that sugar causes plaque, cavities and periodontitis. We all know that sugar can ruin teeth, enamel and gums so it should be no strange fact that sugar can also cause a number of other complications.
Get to know your sugar
There are a number of different types of sugar and you may be surprised at what is actually considered a sugar. Did you know that anything with the suffix ‘ol’ is a sugar? It’s easy to notice that sugar is everywhere and it is almost unavoidable if you still want to enjoy your quality of life when going out to dinners and events.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- Brown Sugar
- Turbinado Sugar
But sugar is natural… right?
Lots of people think that because sugar is natural it can’t be that bad or that it’s better than ‘artificial’ sweeteners such as Splenda. It is often not spoken about that white sugar which we most commonly use and eat is refined sugar which means that it is processed so much that it actually virtually becomes an artificial product. Another topic of debate is that brown sugar is significantly better than white sugar. While brown sugar is free from more preservatives, chemicals and processes it is still a sugar and therefore still maintains harmful properties which can damage your general and dental health. It is still better to opt for brown sugar if given the choice but in fully processed products we often don’t get a choice.
Protect your teeth
There a number of things you can do to protect your teeth and body from the effects of sugar. There are simple dental practices which only take a few minutes every day or 2 days a year to remedy and maintain optimum dental health.
- See your dentist at City Smiles at least twice a year
- Clean your teeth within 20 minutes of eating or drinking products containing a large amount of sugar
- Target problem areas of the teeth when your brush every night
- Floss every night before bed to avoid plaque buildup and related cavities and periodontitis
It can often take a great amount of self-control to resist sugary foods such as chocolate and soft drink. In order to lessen your sugar intake City Smiles recommends mixing your sugar intake with normal foods such as mixing small chocolate buttons with a nut mix.
Is fruit just as bad as normal sugar?
Patients often ask us if fruit is just as damaging to their health as white sugar. Fruit contains intrinsic sugars (sugars that are naturally occurring or found in items) and is less damaging to your dental and general health than extrinsic sugars which are artificially implanted in foods. While the intrinsic sugar in fruit is considered a healthier option it is extremely important to remember that not everything that lists “fruit” is considered to be good for you.
Negative ‘fruit’ grocery items to be avoided include:
- Fruit juices (especially those that are simply liquid and not pulpy)
- Canned Fruit (canned foods have a lot more sweetness due to the preservatives)
- Dried Fruit (releases substantial sugar when consumed which can damage your teeth)
- Jams and jellies (just because it says ‘raspberry’ does not mean that it’s a fruit!)