We all know that sugar can be detrimental to quality oral health. This is because bacteria, the kind that creates acids in our mouths, that breaks down our tooth enamel, loves sugar even more than we do. Did you know, however, that sugars (non-naturally occurring sugars, added sugars) can hide in a lot of different types of foods? Some processed foods might be full of processed sugars; some brands of corn dogs could have enough processed sugars in it to rival that tasty doughnut in the display case at the bakery. How do we know? The easy answer is to read the label, read the ingredients. But, here are a few other tips, when grocery shopping, so that you can make an educated decision as to what’s considered healthy and what’s not.
Often products can be marketed as healthy for reasons such as being low-calorie, or low carb, even gluten-free. But low calorie doesn’t necessarily mean low sugar. Sweeteners like corn syrup are often added to these foods, and corn syrup is a very high source of added sugar. Also juices, which are often marketed as being healthy for the body, are loaded with added sugars. Fruits and vegetables on their own have lots of naturally occurring sugars, although these types of sugars are thought to have less a negative impact than added sugars. Limit your juice intake as you would limit your sugary food intake—sparingly.
Often we give juices to children as a healthier alternative to sodas and other sugary drinks, but we may be serving up a similar sugar load, packaged differently. Obviously with soft drinks, even diet soft drinks—most of which are made with various sweeteners, some of which have been determined to be a health risk to our bodies as well as our teeth (you’ll see a warning for them on the label)—are bad for our teeth, and, if consumed at all, should be consumed in limited quantity. Consider banning sugary drinks like sodas from your daily habits, if not for your oral health, then consider that soft drinks can contribute greatly to diabetes.
It’s the Holiday season, which means everywhere you go there will be sugary sweets waiting, some plate of cookies, a gift basket full of treats. Remember to eat sweets in moderation and stick with your quality oral care routine throughout the season, even if you’re travelling. Happy Holidays!
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