Sugar. Your dentist in San Ramon will tell you to limit your intake, however, it’s a hard substance to avoid when it can be found hidden in the food and drinks we consume on a daily basis. The amount of sugar you eat or drink is important to be aware of because it affects not only our bodies, but also our oral health. Studies are showing that it also affects your wallet because the need for dentistry is increasing as our sugar intake increases.
Sugar and Oral Health
Did you know that sugar itself is not actually the cause of tooth decay and cavities? Rather, sugar is the fuel that energizes the bacteria that causes damage to your teeth. Combine a high sugar intake with poor oral hygiene and you have a recipe for cavities, gum disease, and other damage to your teeth.
Where Does Sugar Hide?
You’re probably aware of the high sugar content of energy drinks or sodas; however, there is actually a lot of sugar hiding in many of the processed or packaged foods we eat daily, and some of them may surprise you. Beware of hidden sugars in foods such as:
- Pasta sauces – many of these have the same amount of sugar as a chocolate chip cookie.
- Salad dressings
- Yogurt – some have as much sugar as two scoops of ice cream
- Packaged fruits – the syrup the fruit is in can contain as much as 39 grams of sugar
- Instant oatmeal – make your own and add fruit instead
- Granola bars – watch out for bars with chocolate or yogurt coatings
Were you surprised? Many of the foods we think of as healthy are actually hiding tons of sugar that is detrimental to our health and well being.
What Can I do to Lower My Sugar Intake?
It’s important to be aware of hidden sugars by reading the labels when you shop for groceries. Many items such as pasta sauce and salad dressings can be made at home so you can control the amount of sugar, if any, that goes into them.
Sticking to fresh foods and eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible is the best way to avoid excess sugar intake. Did you know that eating fresh fruits and veggies actually neutralizes the acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay?
Being aware of what you’re eating and how it affects your health is half the battle. Feel free to contact your dentist if you have any questions!
About the Author
Dr. Rashpal Deol has been taking care of patients in San Ramon, CA for many years. He believes in educating patients about their oral health so they can make the right decisions about their dental care.
If you’d like to reach Dr. Deol, you can contact us through our website, or call us at 925-230-9167.