Eat a Healthy Diet That Is Low in Sugar to Avoid Cavities and Periodontal Disease
Everyone knows they should be brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing at night.
We have also been told to eat a balanced diet for our overall health: plenty of vegetables and fruits, some seeds and whole grains, adequate protein, and lean fats. Oh, and minimize white sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
DENTAL HABITS AND DIET ARE AN IMPORTANT COMBO
But then we are tempted: to cut the brushing to one minute and skip the flossing until the next morning, thinking that as long as we brush more or less regularly, how bad could one piece of candy really be?
Because there are endless excuses at the moment to justify eating something sweet and because sugar is a preservative found even in canned vegetables, the average American ends up eating nearly 100 pounds a year.
TYPE 2 DIABETES AFFECTS MANY AMERICANS
It’s no wonder that while diabetes type 1 is genetic, the most common form is type 2, which afflicts 29 million Americans, while another 84 million have pre-diabetes, according to WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes. The increased consumption of sugar has powered a plague of child obesity and being obese at any age is a major risk factor for type 2.
Other risk factors for having type 2 include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, getting little exercise, smoking, and stress.
The good news is that it is not that hard to improve your diet, oral health, dental hygiene, and lifestyle to achieve and maintain much better health.
ALTERNATIVES TO SUGAR
Today, there are many alternatives to sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth without the dangers these bring. Dentists are particularly enthusiastic about Xylitol, which actually fights oral bacteria that feast on sugar and other “simple” carbohydrates. You can find it in sugarless gum and by the bag or packet for other uses. Stevia, monk fruit, agave, allulose, and erythritol (extracted from lichens and algae) are also widely available, so read your labels and enjoy your healthier snacks.
It is important to know that simple carbs refers to not only sugar, but refined foods like white pasta, bread, and pizza crust that have had the fiber and other benefits removed (fiber stimulates saliva production, which cleanses the teeth and gums of oral bacteria that would otherwise stick to the teeth and gums, causing cavities and gum disease). From the body’s standpoint, if you drink a sugary beverage, eat a cookie, or a sandwich made of white bread it all is quickly turned into a rush of sugar that gives you a high for an hour or two, but then you crash and need another hit.
Complex carbs are whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes (peas) that take a long time to digest, giving the body energy over many hours so you don’t crash or feel hungry. They also don’t break down quickly or stick to teeth like simple carbs. Having good oral health lowers for risk for many diseases.
If you have not had a full dental exam in the past six months, call us today to set one up to understand your oral health status and have your teeth professionally cleaned as part of your path to improved overall health.