The holidays are over, and your diet might still be trying to bounce back with all those leftover sweets around the house. We all tend to indulge a bit during the end of the year, but in January it’s time to get back to our day-to-day lives and settle into good, healthy routines.

For a lot of us ‘healthy” equals cutting out sugar, or at least limiting it in favor of other sugar-free products. While it’s definitely good to cut out the big cavity causer going sugar-free doesn’t mean you’re eliminating all your risks! At Edgewood Dental Care we love to encourage our patients to eat less sugar, but don’t end up causing harm by falling for sugar-free fictions!

What Sugar Does To You
Sugar itself isn’t the problem that you may think: for your teeth it’s how your oral bacteria metabolizes it into tooth-eroding acids. Those acids damage enamel, eventually creating small pockets where oral bacteria builds up and causes more and more damage. Those bacteria-filled hotspots are cavities, and without treatment they’ll just get bigger and bigger.

Sugar might be a smile breaker but that doesn’t mean it’s completely bad for your body. In moderate amounts sugar is what your body uses to produce the energy you need to survive. Sugar comes in two major forms: glucose and fructose. Glucose is found in a lot of different foods and is necessary for energy production. Fructose, on the other hand, is just a super-sweet and non-energy producing version that we use in candy and other sugary foods.

Cutting Out Sugar: Not Easy, Not Effective
Sugar is bad for you in excess, just like anything else. Eliminating it from your diet, however, isn’t easy or necessary. Starchy foods, fruits, vegetables, and other things found in nature all contain glucose, which you need, and eliminating them is impossible. What you really need to do is limit your fructose intake while also being sure to take care of your teeth with daily brushings and flossing.

Many people who eliminate sugar also introduce alternative sweeteners, and those come with a whole other host of problems! Studies show that regular drinkers of diet soda, which contains artificial sweeteners, have much higher risks of both metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes. While it’s impossible to rule out other factors, it’s difficult to ignore the link!

What’s So Bad About Avoiding Sugar?
You definitely shouldn’t be using artificial sweeteners, and what you really need to avoid are refined sugar products, not natural things like fruits and vegetables. But where does your oral health come in? The biggest problem for patients seeking a sugar-free diet actually comes in the form of drinks, and we aren’t even talking about diet soda.

A lot of the drink alternatives that people choose are still filled with some seriously tooth-destroying substances: acids. Fruit juices, sports drinks, and even flavored waters have all been shown to seriously weaken and destroy tooth enamel, in large part because of the acids they contain. If you aren’t sure that the drink you have is safe you only have one good option: just drink water instead!

What You Can Do
The best way to control your diet and limit the ravages of tooth decay is to simply limit your intake and care for your teeth properly. That includes seeing us at our Edgewood office every six months for a professional exam and cleaning, which very well may be the most important part.

Professional dental care can detect cavities and other problems far before you can see it yourself, thereby protecting your teeth and keeping your smile safe for years to come. Missing your dental appointments can only have one outcome: tooth damage, destruction, and outright loss!

Make An Appointment Now!
Don’t look back years from now wishing you had taken care of your teeth – make an appointment at Edgewood Dental Care today and stop worrying about your sugar intake! You can reach us at 859-474-7830 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!