Sugar Is Tough On Teeth, Period!

added on: October 24, 2012

The average sugar consumption of Americans is 22 teaspoons a day. While anything you eat triggers an acid attack in the mouth, the acid produced from sugar is the most harmful. Unfortunately, sugar is hidden in a wide range of our foods – from canned tomatoes, salad dressings, and crackers. The average can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

While too much of anything is not wise, too much sugar is particularly detrimental to our bodies, beginning in the mouth! Over the years, to satisfy our sweet tooth without the harm, people began turning to artificial sweeteners. However, these have gotten a bad rap, beginning with the ‘saccharin scare’ from radical research. Actually, artificial sweeteners have been studied far more than most drugs (around 100 studies have been conducted on Splenda, or sucralose). These have never resulted in findings that are reason enough to omit them as sugar substitutes.

What we ARE finding is the overabundance of sugar in our foods. Added sugar is often listed in foods as high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, dextrose, or sucrose. Whew!

With the move these days towards ‘organic’ foods, many people are turning back to sugar as a ‘safer, more natural’ additive. In many instances, I applaud this. It’s much healthier to give your family plain oatmeal and allow them to sprinkle sugar on it rather than purchase pre-sweetened oatmeal. Just remember that sugar, in any form, is not kind to your teeth.

We advise artificial sweeteners over sugar whenever it’s practical. Yet, sugar is a part of our lives and we can’t help but treat ourselves to the real thing here and there. Just remember – it’s important to brush after consuming any sugary foods after eating. Or, at the very least, swish with water or chew sugar-free gum. This will help to clean your mouth and halt the acid attack that’s so damaging to enamel. This will also help you (and your family) to avoid treatment time and expense down the road. The ‘sweetest’ way to smile is with a healthy mouth!

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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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