Sugar is glorious. Delicious. Addictive. And a danger to your oral health. Plenty of Americans are on sugar overload, from the consumption of sodas to pastries to processed foods. Your teeth will eventually feel the impact of excessive sugar kicks, resulting in the need for non-mercury tooth fillings or other restorative dentistry procedures. If you make an effort to eat and drink foods and beverages that are better for you, then you’ll expose your body to less sugar and contribute to better oral health.
Consider these healthier alternatives:
Instead of energy drinks, make your own beverage
Sports drinks and energy drinks that claim to refuel you make good on their declarations thanks in large part to sugar. Store-bought energy drinks are packed with sugar. But you can make your own pick-me-up by spiking your water with good stuff like lemon juice, stevia, and celtic sea salt. The electrolytes and natural minerals are better than sugar, and the stevia offers that bit of sweetness that you undoubtedly still crave.
Athletes are actually at greater risk for oral health problems because of a decrease in saliva flow – causing dangerous dry mouth – and an increase in the consumption of energy drinks and protein bars (also high in sugar).
Instead of milk chocolate, eat dark chocolate
When it comes to candy, chocolate should be your weapon of choice. Unlike hard candies or chewy candies that stick to your teeth for hours and are hard to remove, eating away at enamel by bathing your teeth in sugar, chocolate washes away more easily. Plus, come on, who doesn’t love chocolate? If it’s a sweet that you must have, go for the top-shelf brands that are made with less sugar and a higher cacao count, preferably 72 percent or higher.
Besides the sugar in chewy or hard candies leading to cavities, they can also be responsible for damaging teeth. One wrong bite can lead to a cracked tooth, a displaced porcelain crown, or a chipped tooth. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to have the crown replaced, or start discussing the possibility of porcelain veneers.
Instead of ice cream, eat bananas
Ice cream is loaded with sugar. But bananas and other fruits are loaded with natural sugars and sweetness. Enjoy a low-in-sugar dessert (that is also non-dairy!) by freezing ripe and peeled bananas. Once frozen, blend them with other fruits like blueberries or strawberries and add some healthy nuts like almonds for texture.
Well-Rounded Oral Health
It’s not always your diet that affects your oral health. There are plenty of ways your mouth, teeth, and gums react that are signaling that something else is going on within your body. The goal of a holistic dentist is not just to treat what’s wrong with your oral health, but to determine the cause of the problem at hand. And if it isn’t excessive sugar consumption that’s to blame, there are other conditions to consider, like diabetes, a sinus infection, or celiac disease. Amazingly enough, a trip to a holistic dentistry practice can provide a wealth of information about your overall health and well-being.
Questions about what your teeth are trying to tell you, or what habits you might have that are impacting your oral health? Contact Dr. Yolanda Cintron wants at the International Center for Dental Excellence to make an appointment.