IT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT to watch out for sugar in our foods while we’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. As our patient, you’ve already been advised about problematic foods for braces. However, learning more about hidden sugars in your diet can help you better protect your teeth against decay.
Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Braces, And Cause Cavities
When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.
Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities(even when you’re not wearing braces). The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.
Cut Sugar Intake In Half
After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). Currently, the average American gets 12-15% of his or her daily calories from sugar—and America isn’t even the highest consumer of sugar worldwide!
Beware Of Hidden Sugars
How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a “nutritional” food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:
- Molasses & Maltose
- Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
- Sorghum syrup
This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.
3 More Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar
- Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
- Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
- Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, granola bars, yogurt, and sugary cereal in addition to regular sweets.
A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth
You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! If you’re ever feeling unsure about which foods are appropriate while you’re wearing braces, just ask us! We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!
Top image by Flickr user Tom Page used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.