Smart Snacking

Hidden Truths About Sugar

You shouldn’t think of dental care as just cleanings and you certainly shouldn’t wait to go to the dentist until something is wrong. Building a positive relationship with your dentist is crucial. State of the art technology and accommodations should make your visit an enjoyable experience, not a chore. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone visit their dentist for an exam and cleaning at least once a year, and preferably once every six months. The days of cold, dreary dental offices are a thing of the past.

Similar to the rest of your body, your teeth and gums have the best chance of being healthy when you’re eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Particularly one low in sugars and processed foods.

Finding healthy alternatives to unhealthy snacks is the best way to make balanced eating a part of your lifestyle. This not only helps limit the calories we pack on, but also prevents the accumulation of disease-causing bacteria in the oral cavity.

Sugar is addicting and is one of the main cavity causing factors. The more sugar we consume, the more we crave it. To limit one's intake, try cutting it out for a few days and notice how you start to crave it less and less.

We’re not using sugar the way we used to. Before, natural sugars were used to sweeten foods and drinks. Natural sugars have now been replaced with processed sugars in the form of artificial sweeteners.  Understanding the differences between good and bad sugars can help us make better decisions in terms of the foods we consume.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar from plants that is actually good for us. It prevents the development of cavities while delivering the same delicious flavor we desire when craving something sweet. So, chewing xylitol gum or candies after meals can replace that sweet fix we crave.

Here are some healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth:

Incorporate more fruits into your diet. Fruit salads are a creative way to do so!

Smoothies are another fun way to get the nutrients fruits are packed with while enjoying a sweet and refreshing pick-me-up.

Natural yogurts and dairy products can be a delicious snack, but also contain calcium and casein which protect our teeth and help prevent cavities from happening.

Incorporate naturally occurring sugars such as xylitol and sorbitol which come in the form of gum and powdered sweeteners. These can be found at your local grocery store!

Remember to have regularly scheduled checkups and to have a comfortable, open dialogue with your dentist. Good oral health plays a big factor in being in good overall health.

Dr. Shohreh Sharif has been practicing dentistry for 25

years. She is: Associate Professor, Howard University

College of Dentistry Diplomate, American Board of

Pediatric Dentistry Diplomate, American Orthodontic

Society IAD Top Pediatric Dentist among Leading

Physicians of the World Fellow, American Academy of

Pediatric Dentistry

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