Here’s a shocker: The Australian Health Survey found that in 2011-2012, Australians were consuming an average of 60g of sugars each day, or the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of white sugar.
This is well in excess of what the World Health Organisation recommends our sugar consumption should be about 25g or six teaspoons per day.
Now, evidence shows sugar can do even more damage than previously thought, setting you up for poor oral health, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Unfortunately weaning yourself from sugar can be daunting. Sugar hides in many foods and it provides a nearly addictive buzz, thanks to a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine it causes in your body.
Because sugar is so dangerous to your dental health, and also your general health, at Alex Bratic Dental, we urge you to consider cutting sugar out of your diet as much as you can.
What Does Sugar Do?
When you consume sugar it latches on to your teeth. Bacteria that are normally found inside your mouth use the sugar as fuel. As the bacteria consumes the sugar, it produces acid, which eventually begins to eat away the enamel on your teeth. This makes the protective surface of the teeth thinner and weaker. As the enamel weakens, the chance of developing cavities becomes greater. Sugary food and drinks are known to be one of the most common dietary causes of tooth decay.
Sugar is also harmful to general health in a variety of ways:
Your brain suffers. A diet packed with fructose can make it tougher to learn and remember, animal research suggests. To stay in peak mental shape, try sticking with savory snacks. Sugar has also been tied to ADD and ADHD in children.
Excess sugar is stored as fat. The liver has an innate capacity to metabolize sugar and use it for energy—but only to an extent. The fructose that’s left over is converted into fat in the liver, raising your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Skin ages faster. Studies show that much sugar hinders collagen, the protein that keeps skin looking plump, repair. Sugar consumption can result in reduced elasticity and premature wrinkles.
Your cells are damaged. Fructose accelerates the oxidation process in our cells. The result? Proteins, tissues, and organs can become damaged, and our risk of health conditions, including liver disease, kidney failure, and cataracts, rises.
You get addicted. Eating sugar leads to the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us like something and want more of it. As time goes by, you ‘need’ more and more of it.
Energy surges, then crashes. Refined carbs, like those in white bread and pasta, quickly cause a rise in bloodstream glucose. This leads to a temporary surge of energy. But this short-term fix leaves you more sluggish when you eventually crash.
How Can I Avoid These Problems?
The best way to minimise the tooth decay that is caused by consuming sugar is to avoid it.
Sugar is found in many foods that are good for you, including fruits. Because of this, it is not realistic to avoid all sources of sugar in your diet. Instead, you should try to avoid sources of added sugar. Particularly, highly-sugared foods and drinks to avoid for your oral (and overall) health include soft drinks, energy drinks, and candy.
Tips to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
In order to help you reduce your sugar intake, Alex Bratic Dental recommends the following four strategies:
Have the right attitude: Stay positive and get friends and family involved. Try not to feel you are being deprived of anything.
Break “Sweet” Habits: Any habit associated with sugar? Try to break the link!
At events such as at birthday parties, Easter and Christmas) bring your own sugar-free options, or eat carefully.
Eliminate sugar from your food supply: The first thing to do is throw out all the food in your pantry and fridge that is too high in sugar.
Re-stock! Once you have removed sugar from your kitchen, you need to reload your pantry:
- Fruit: Whole fruits do contain sugar. But they also contain a fairly large amount of fibre and water.
- Vegetables: All vegetables contain some level of sugar, but it is an insignificant amount and is vastly overwhelmed by the fibre content.
- Meat: Meat does not contain sugar. Marinades, on the other hand, often contain sugar.
- Nuts: Like vegetables, there’s no such thing as a bad nut.
- Eggs, yoghurt, milk, and cream: Avoid flavoured milk or whipped cream that you buy in a can.
- Bread: Breads contain some sugar, with multigrain and brown breads containing the least.
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic
Alex Bratic Dental Care is the perfect combination of comfort, convenience and excellent care in Beenleigh.
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.