Many of us regularly consume too much sugar. In addition to the wider impact on our health, a high sugar intake can lead to tooth decay. By making a few simple changes, you can reduce sugar in your diet, or even cut out sugar completely.
Start by looking at your diet and identifying ways to phase out sugar or replace it with something else. Snacks are often the easiest place to begin. If you reach for a chocolate bar or keep a bag of mints on hand, look for alternatives, such as unsalted nuts and raw vegetables. If you like sugary drinks, or add sugar to tea or coffee, look to replace these with water or herbal teas.
Sugar is found in lots of everyday foods, so you need to carefully read food and drink labels. While it might be easy to avoid sugar-laden desserts and cakes, sugar lurks in many unexpected places, such as in soups, cereals and savoury snacks. Many times, sugar will even be listed as something else, such as ‘high-fructose corn syrup’ or ‘dextrose’, so you need to stay vigilant! Look for alternatives, such as muesli (with no added sugar) with fresh fruit. Some foods, such as soups and pasta sauces, can be made at home, using fresh vegetables and herbs.
Changing the way in which you consume sugar can also have tangible benefits. For example, if you like fruit juices, or simply can’t face giving up those fizzy drinks completely, drink them through a straw to protect your teeth. Also, you could try switching to dark chocolate, as it has a lower sugar content than milk chocolate.
Sugar reacts with the bacteria found in plaque, creating an acid that eats away at the tooth enamel. This could lead to fillings, tooth loss or a root canal. Taking some simple steps now to eliminate or reduce sugar in your diet could mean you avoid these problems later.