Most people are quite aware of the dangers to health of too much sugar. It’s not just obesity and diabetes, too much sugar in the diet is bad for your teeth, too. Excess sugar accumulates in the teeth and gums and causes an increase in bacteria. The result is teeth decay and gum disease.
Dentists can advise you about the dangers of too much sugar, but they can’t actually stop you from having an unhealthily sugary diet. That’s up to all of us as aware individuals and families. The problem is finding the determination to have less sugar and more of anything that is healthier. Sometimes, it takes a little persuasion that alternatives to sweet but unhealthy things to eat and drink really do exist. Recently there has been a surge of interest in “sugar swaps”. Basically, these are ways you can swap a high sugar content food or drink for a low sugar one, yet still be attracted to its taste. Here are some examples of some suggested sugars swaps you can try yourself. They might just save your teeth!
Sugar Swap: From sugary carbonated drinks to soda water with a twist of fruit.
It’s been reported that children absorb a third of their daily sugar intake, which is 3 times what is considered safe, from drinking fizzy drinks. It’s not just fizzy drinks, either. Fruit juices and even some types of coffee have way too much sugar. Plain water is best, but admittedly tasteless unless you are thirsty. Try swapping the sugar filled drinks with equally fizzy soda water with some fruit squeezed into it.
Sugar Swap: From biscuits and cakes to fruit, bagels, plain rice cakes and toast with low fat spread.
Sweetened biscuits and cakes can be swapped for anything on the list above. A lot of sweet snacks are eaten because of poor eating habits. It has become a bit of a habit to get into snacking on sugar instead of eating healthier but more filling meals.
Sugar Swap: From sugary yoghurt, ice cream, ice lollies and sweet desserts to low sugar yoghurt with added nuts and /or fruit.
Most supermarkets will give an indication of alternatives where they are available between sugar filled items and low sugar ones like chocolate and yoghurt. If the differences aren’t labelled close to where the products are shelved, check the labels on the products themselves.
Sugar Swap: From sweet coffee drinks to teas and iced lattes.
Coffee has grown in popularity and the number of coffee laced drinks has mushroomed. Some of the admittedly tasty ones are sugar stacked, but there are several alternative ways of getting a hit from caffeine without rotting your teeth.
Keep a check on your teeth
By making regular visits, every 6 months to your family dentist, you will find out just what your diet is doing to your teeth and whether a change in what you eat and drink using sugar swaps is having a positive influence. This is a good time to discuss dietary alternatives with the dentist, too.