All of our lives we have heard that we need to take care of our teeth because we only have one set of adult teeth. We have also been told since we were young that sugar is one of the worst things for teeth. This is true, yet still many adults are eating way too much sugar. And this is affecting not just their dental health but their overall health and wellbeing too! Here at Comfort Care Family Dental, we want to help our patients find healthier ways to live. We want to help them reduce sugar intake and show them easy ways to protect their teeth. If you have been wanting to cut back on your sugar intake and haven’t had much luck, or you simply don’t know where to start, read on to find out what you need to know. Here are ten tips for reducing sugar intake in your daily diet that we recommend to all of our Naperville patients:
Eat smaller and more often.
Eating smaller meals, something commonly known as grazing, can be effective if done the right way. Grazing is bad when you are constantly eating unhealthy foods and things loaded with sugar- potato chips, candy, soda, and the like. But if you eat lots of smaller meals throughout the day you are less likely to binge on the unhealthy foods that might end up in front of you now and then. It is also healthier overall for your body and can help you lose weight, get more energy, and have a better mood and outlook during the day. So, try to eat five or six smaller healthy meals throughout the day to reduce sugar intake and protect your teeth from damage.
Drink more water every day.
Another way to cut out sugar and reduce those annoying sugar cravings is to stay well hydrated. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger, and when we are dehydrated our bodies start craving hydration. Many people interpret that as a craving for food or end up chugging the wrong type of fluids. Drinking soda may temporarily get rid of your thirst but it will not totally satisfy and it will do a lot of damage to your teeth and the rest of your body!
Eat fresh instead of processed.
When it comes to reducing sugar intake in your daily diet, our dependence on processed and pre-prepared foods is a big killer for health and wellness. Processed foods are notorious for having added sugar along with other nasty additives like sodium, preservatives, and MSG. These do nothing to improve your health and can actually do a lot to harm it when consumed in too large a quantity. It is always better to go with healthy, natural, raw, and organic foods as much as you possibly can.
Spice things up a bit.
Spices like cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, ginger, and turmeric can give food a new and different flavor to enjoy. These new flavors can keep your diet interesting and can help give food flavor and pizazz without relying on a lot of sugar. We crave flavor and a satisfying taste to our food and drink and many have become accustomed to a sweet flavor. Adding spices can help get you ‘hooked’ on a healthier sugar-free flavoring option.
Get enough sleep at night.
Being tired and not getting enough sleep stresses out the body and makes you more to a myriad of health concerns. Too much sugar can make you sick, and not just sick to your stomach from eating too many sweets. The body heals and repairs itself when we sleep and when we have too high a sugar intake, the body cannot compensate for the damage that is done by the unhealthy diet. Add to that the fact that most people are getting far less than the 7-8 hours of sleep recommended for optimal health, and it’s easy to see how lack of sleep can make the effects of sugar all the more damaging for the human body.
Read the food labels.
Always read the labels when you are buying food. Even if it is something you have been buying and using for years, read the label to refresh yourself on what is in it. This also helps to check and make sure recipes and formulations haven’t changed since the last time you made a similar purchase. Check the ingredients list to see if sugar is listed as an ingredient—that means it’s added. You also need to check carbohydrate counts- the natural sugars from the ingredients. Both are bad for you when consumed in large quantities. So, while soda is always bad for your teeth, drinking too much sweet apple juice can also be just as damaging to your health.
Cut out the sugar slowly.
Drastically lowering the among of sugar you eat or suddenly cutting it out completely can be a bit shocking to your body physically and mentally. While it is good to want to find ways to start reducing sugar intake in your daily diet, you must do it in a way that makes it easy to stick to the new eating habits. Start by cutting sugar intake in half and cutting single sources out one at a time each week. Many people are addicted to sugar and cutting it out ‘cold turkey’ can lead to major withdrawal symptoms, so starting slowly is often the best way to start reducing sugar intake. Any reduction will help improve your dental health and overall health so anything you can do to take a step in the right direction is a step that is well worth taking!
Avoid low-fat and nonfat foods.
Many people are surprised to learn when they first start cutting out sugar that many so-called healthy foods actually have more sugar in them than normal! In many cases, when removing fat, food manufacturers will usually add sugar to keep the product flavorful. You think you’re choosing a healthy option by going with a fat-free yogurt, but when you look at the label you will see a lot of added sugars. And these sugars, in turn, are most commonly converted into fat by the body. So, it is defeating the purpose in the long run. You would be better off eating full-fat regular yogurt now and then to keep yourself from feeling deprived than adding all that hidden sugar into your diet.
Eat healthy snacks instead.
The best foods you can eat to keep your teeth healthy and protect your overall health and wellbeing include natural whole foods. Fresh vegetables, fruits in moderation, whole grains, lean proteins, and minimal carbs are the best foods to include in your daily diet. It will help reduce sugar intake and protect your teeth and gums while also boosting your overall health. Reducing sugar intake in your daily diet involves a commitment to making a conscious choice about what you are putting into your body.
Don’t allow teeth to soak in sugar.
The final thing you can do to protect your oral health while you are reducing sugar intake in your daily diet is to avoid soaking your teeth in sugar. This happens more than you may realize. Sipping on soda, sweet tea, juice, and sports drinks all day long constantly bathe your teeth in sweet fluids. Also, if you are snaking on sugar and carb-heavy foods all day, the particles that are left on your teeth between brushing and flossing can also damage your teeth. If you drink sweet drinks, brushing when you are done or at least rinse well with water. Keep water on hand throughout the day for sipping to keep your teeth rinsed and clean. Also, make sure you brush your teeth at the very least every day before going to bed.
If you have questions about reducing sugar intake in your daily diet or if you would like more information on how to protect your teeth against the damaging effects of sugar, give us a call. We here at Comfort Care Family Dental of Naperville are ready to help you find that healthy beautiful smile you have been looking for! Call us today to schedule your consultation appointment.
1001 E Chicago Ave #143, Naperville, IL 60540