Of all of the things that can damage your teeth; smoking, chewing gum, playing ice hockey, etc… none is as common in our society as sugar. Americans especially, have an uncontrollable craving for sugar. This can be seen when you look at products like BBQ sauce, tortillas, fruit snacks, some toothpastes (yikes!) and a plethora of other foods which have no real need for sugar.
The problem with sugar is that it provides a food source for bacteria, which later develop into plaque. Sugar gives these pests the energy they need to multiply and for some it gets made into a glue which binds them to the tooth. The faster the bacteria grow, the more quickly plaque builds up. The more quickly that plaque builds up, the more quickly that teeth will begin to decay.
Luckily, there are some ways to eliminate sugar from your diet without going through all of those nasty withdrawals. Don’t be mistaken, it might take some adjusting in order for you to mentally and physically be able to cope, but in time your body will be grateful.
The first step is to drink more water. The blood vessels have receptors, called baroreceptors, which are responsible for detecting low amounts of water in the blood. These receptors then send a signal to the brain, which then let’s you know you are thirsty. In over 67% of the population this detection mechanism’s is flawed and will not differentiate thirst from hunger, thus you may think you are hungry when really you just need more water. If you insist on sweetening it, use a few slices of an orange, lemon, or strawberries.
Choose the whole version of your food. Instead of getting pre-made pieces of chicken, buy a whole one and carve it yourself. With fruit, go fresh out of the peel instead of dried or canned versions of food. It should be emphasized that anything which is preserved or canned has extra sugar. Read the ingredient list carefully. If it has glucose, sucrose, fructose, cane or granulated, that is sugar.
If you are worried about having sugar cravings, do a complete detox before hand. It works as sort of a “reset” for your body. It doesn’t fix everything, but if your goal is to minimize your sugar craving (or even quit smoking), a detox can help you on your way.
Remove all the temptation from your house (car, desk, locker, etc…). If there are no sugary snacks in your house, you would have to get up, put on shoes, find your keys, and go to the store to satisfy a late night craving. That is definitely a deterrent for most people out there.
The final piece of advice for you, is to keep yourself busy. If you have something crunchy, like celery sticks, carrot sticks, or unsalted peanuts to snack on, it gives you a distraction with the chewing motion.
It is up to you if you want to remove all sugar from your diet or just the majority. Either way, remember that thorough and daily dental care and regular dental visits are important, all the healthy food in the world means little if you don’t brush and floss as well.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015