Sugar is getting a bad rap lately– it can lead to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It is also just as bad for your teeth! Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth interacts with sugar and creates an acid in your mouth. This can cause cavities and tooth decay.
The magic number is 10%. If your sugar intake is less than 10 percent of your total caloric intake, the risk of tooth decay decreases dramatically. The problem is that much of our American diet contains highly processed foods that contain hidden (and not so hidden!) sugars.
So what can you do to be more mindful of your sugar intake?
- Read labels! Learn the different names for sugar (evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, etc) and find out where they lie on the ingredients list. If they are in the top three, your food choice may have quite a bit of sugar.
- Stay away from soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. We all know it–these aren’t good for your teeth!
- Get back to homemade. If you make it yourself, you know just what’s in it. This goes for other ingredients too.
- Keep it natural. Try to consume mostly natural sugars, such as those occurring in fruits and vegetables.
Check out this awesome visual about sugars in beverages. It made us think twice about some of our favorites!