Too much sugar can be bad for your health. When sugar is left on the teeth, bacteria feed off it and produce acids that damage the enamel. Furthermore, consuming high amounts of sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and poor heart health. Considering the average American consumes approximately 22 grams of sugar a day, which is twice the recommended amount), it’s no surprise that tooth decay is the most common disease affecting children. Here are 6 ways you can reduce the amount of sugar you and your child consume:
Read the labels. Oftentimes, we don’t realize how much sugar is in our food because we don’t make it ourselves. If you’re eating packaged items or fast food, check the labels or nutrition facts online before eating. You don’t necessarily have to count calories, you’ll have a better idea of how much sugar is in the products. By making this a habit, you’ll be more conscious of what you’re feeding yourself and your family.
Switch to a natural sugar substitute. Natural sugar substitutes, like xylitol, honey, and stevia, are a great way to add some sweetness to your food without the negative consequences of sugar. Not only that, they can also provide plenty of health benefits, too. Xylitol, for example, has actually been shown to reduce cavities.
Chew a sugar free gum. Chewing gum can stimulate the salivary glands and flush away bacteria and food debris. However, gum with sugar will only feed the bacteria in the mouth, resulting in more tooth decay. Try sugar-free brands of chewing gum. They are often flavored with natural mint and Xylitol, a calorie reducer.
Eat Fresh Fruit…Instead of canned. Processed and preserved fruits often have extra chemicals and sugars added to them, so opt for a fresh piece of fruit instead. If you and your family do eat canned fruit, be sure that it’s been packed in 100% fruit juice instead of “light syrup” which refers to the thickness of the sugary syrup used.
Drink water when thirsty. A 12 oz. can of soda can contain over 39g of sugar! Beverages like soda, coffee, milk tea, fruit juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks can have tons of added sugar. Make water your go-to and you’ll dramatically reduce your sugar intake.
Kids can indulge in the occasional juice box and sports drink, especially after sports when they’re low on electrolytes, but we recommend water the rest of the time. Sugar is easy to get addicted to and you don’t want your kids forming bad habits early on.
Learn to cook. Almost all items on most fast food menus and restaurants have added sugar, even savory items like hamburgers! When you cook for your family, you can track exactly how much sugar you’re adding to your meals. Plus, it’s a lot less expensive!
At Kids Healthy Teeth, we strive to provide our patients with strong, healthy teeth for a lifetime. Start building good dental habits with your child early on to set them up for success. Stop by our pediatric dentist’s office in Katy, TX, for a dental exam, nutritional counseling, or just to say hi! We’re always happy to help .