If you are like the majority of families, you are just coming off a few months of sugar overload. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are some of our favorite holidays. But, they are full of sugar. And, as you know, sugar and teeth are NOT a good combination. That’s why, starting a sugar detox is a great New Year’s resolution to reset your nutrition clock. Here are five reasons why eliminating added sugars is a good idea.
I feel we must start this discussion by first explaining that not all sugars are bad. In fact, sugar is found naturally in all foods that have carbohydrates. Food like fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy have natural sugars. Consuming whole foods that have natural sugar is okay, says Harvard researchers.
The problem is with added sugars. Think soft drinks, fruit drinks, cereals, cakes, candies, flavored yogurt, processed foods, breads, ketchup, certain cured meats. These all contain added sugar, or sugar that food manufacturers add to products to make them more flavorable and to expand their shelf life.
Paying attention to your household’s sugar consumption each day can be an eye-opening practice. Did you know that the average American consumes 88 grams of added sugar a day? The recommended amount for women and children is no more than 24 grams; for men 36 grams. Added sugars don’t just rot your teeth. Excess sugars also lead to heart disease and obesity.
Reducing your consumption of sugar means less food for oral bacteria to grow in in your mouth. Less bacteria means less tooth decay and less acids that erode dental enamel leaving teeth exposed for cavities.
Eating too much sugar has led to obesity, type 2 diabetes, brain fog, fatigue, cancer, heart disease and chronic illness and other health issues. Too much added sugar in the diet also raises blood pressure and increases chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.
Increased sugar levels impact insulin resistance. Insulin, a hormone which is vital for brain functioning, is influenced by blood sugar control. High levels of sugar in children can trigger interference with the neurotransmitters responsible for keeping moods stable. This can lead to depression and anxiety in children.
A sugar detox allows our bodies to reset by getting blood sugar level balanced. It also curbs cravings for sugar and other unhealthy foods.
Sugar can lead to tooth staining. How? Because more sugar in your mouth means more acids and bacteria feeding on the sugar. Sugar left on the teeth leads to exposed dentin and yellowing of the smile.
Reducing your sugar intake will also help you improve your breath. Since sugar feeds the mouth bacteria, the more sugar your eating the more bad breath you are encouraging.
Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.
The best thing you can do to help avoid the pitfalls of sugar and teeth are to make sure along with your dietary adjustments you are brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and having timely professional cleanings.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children 2 to 11 have had dental cavities in their primary (baby) teeth. Don’t let your children become part of this statistic. Make goals for change in 2021!
Make a goal to work on no added sugars for five days. You can go longer, but will begin to feel the effects after about five days. Pay attention to food labels to keep yourself on track. Try using a food/nutrition app like MyFitnessPal to help you stay on target.
Avoid weeks where you’re busy with dinners or plans with friends. If you aren’t at home, plan on bringing prepared food with you so you’re never stuck in a situation where there’s no good options.
Make daily meal/snack plans to so you aren’t ever wondering what you are going to eat and reaching for something quick and easy–often the quick and easy option is full of sugar.
The Daily Meal offers these tips and suggestions for families who want to start a detox together.
Children that have dental exams and frequent visits biannually after, have a reduced risk of developing dental issues. Let’s work together to keep them healthy and happy! Call Li’l Sunshine Smiles at 813-576-0200 today to schedule a dental exam today!