Americans tend to consume almost double the recommended amount, six to nine teaspoons, of sugar a day. While you’ll find sugar in obvious places like soda, candy, and other sweets, it can hide in places you wouldn’t expect as well, like bread and salad dressing. Sugar can be harmful to your oral health, therefor being conscious of your sugar intake will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
How Sugar Affects Your Teeth
Your saliva mixes with the sugar in foods you consume, to create a food source for the bacteria living in plaque. This bacteria uses sugar to create acids. The acids generated, slowly eat away at your tooth’s enamel, eventually resulting in tooth decay,
How Much Sugar Should You Eat?
Your sugar intake plays a significant factor in your oral health. If you are eating large quantities of sugar, you are at higher risk for having eventual problems with your teeth. The sugar acts as fuel for acid generating bacteria that corrodes the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. The daily recommended amount of sugar for women shouldn’t exceed six teaspoons (25 grams), and the recommended daily amount for men is nine teaspoons (37.5 grams).
Most people eat more sugar than the recommended amount. It can be difficult to stay within those guidelines since nine teaspoons can be consumed in one can of soda. However, making substitutions in your diet can help you avoid eating too much sugar. Swap soda for water, candy for nuts or fruit, and choose whole foods instead of processed foods whenever possible.
How Much Sugar Is in What You Eat?
You may not think your sugar intake is very high, but you may be surprised. Maybe you don’t eat a lot of pastries, donuts, candy bars, or ice cream, so you think you are doing well with your sugar consumption. However, there is hidden sugar in just about everything we eat. Maybe you start your day off with a refreshing cup of orange juice. If so, you just consumed approximately 23 grams of sugar, which puts you close to your daily allowance.
Something as seemingly healthy as yogurt can have up to 39 grams of sugar if it’s flavored. Cutting down on sugar is a difficult feat, but this can be achieved by moving to sugar-free products. Also, chewing sugarless gum is helpful to curb a sweet tooth if you have one.
What To Do If You Consume Sugar
Even your best efforts may put you over the recommended daily amount of sugar from time to time. However, if you are proactive with your oral health care and take the proper steps, you can protect your teeth from harm. Brushing them twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush can remove plaque. This is essential after consuming sugary items. Also, be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings. Your dentist will be able to get all those hard to reach areas and ensure you don’t have any cavities forming. So, even if you are consuming more sugar than recommended, you can have healthy teeth with a proper treatment plan.
Next Steps at Columbia Smiles
Now is the ideal time to make an appointment for a dental cleaning. At Columbia Smiles, our experienced technicians are ready to assist you with keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Our 35 years in business gives us the expertise to manage all your dental needs. We specialize in a wide range of dental services, some of which include:
- Dental implant consultations
- Crowns and bridges
- Dental veneers
- Root canal consultations
- Teeth whitening services
- Tooth extraction consultations
- Cosmetic dentistry services