It’s well known that eating too much sugar is bad for your teeth. However, it’s easier said than done to cut sugar out of your diet. No matter how much you may mentally assent to the idea that you should eat less sugar, when you’re faced with that delicious cake, ice cream, pie, brownie, or other sweet treat, it’s not easy to say no. Sugar is an extremely addictive substance, and when you’re faced with the most delicious dessert, the statement, “This is not good for my teeth,” probably won’t carry that much clout at that moment. So what’s a realistic way to cut down on your sugar intake and actually say no to the cravings? Here are some tips from our dentist in Sarasota on how you can do this and actually succeed.
1. Realize that eating less sugar will benefit your overall health, not just your teeth.
It’s good if you can keep it in mind that your teeth need to last you a lifetime, and if you find that to be motivational enough to cut down on sugar, all the more power to you! However, if you find that that thought alone is not enough, take a look into all the ways that eating less sugar will benefit other organs and systems in your body. You’ll enjoy benefits from weight loss to improved heart health to reduced risk of illnesses like diabetes. The more you can inform yourself of the dangers of eating too much sugar, and the benefits of cutting back, the more you’ll be motivated to do it.
2. Watch your intake of other carbohydrates, not just things that taste sweet.
Breads, pasta, potatoes, rice, chips, and other starchy foods do not taste particularly sweet, but at the molecular level, the stuff that’s in these carbohydrates are just longer chains of the exact same sugars. When your body breaks this down, it won’t distinguish between whether you thought it tasted sweet when you ate it. Your body will process glucose as sugar whether it came from a starchy carbohydrate or a sweet one. It has the same potential to rot your teeth and cause you health issues.
3. When you feel a sweet craving, reach for protein instead.
Much of the time, a craving for something sweet is really a craving for nutrition. Your body sends you hunger signals, hoping for something that will supply the deficiency that it is experiencing, and only when that deficiency is truly satisfied will it stop triggering frequent hunger. When you eat empty carbs, your body gets a quick rush that satisfies the initial craving, but then the hunger comes right back, leading you to eat something sweet again. By making it your first reaction to reach for something sweet, you condition your brain to trigger a craving for that sweet reward, but you’ll get caught in a vicious cycle that way. A better idea would be to reach for a more complex, protein-based snack. Try it a few times and watch how much more effectively it demolishes your sugar craving.
Keep watching for our next blog post, when we’ll cover more realistic tips for how to quench your craving for sugar.
In the meantime, book your dental appointment with Joshua Colkmire today.