If you’re reading this blog and still holding strong on your New Year resolution, then good for you! Because January 17 is typically the day in which most people who’ve made a resolution give it up.
That means that most people only make it only 17 days!
One of the most common resolutions, not just for those here in the Metroplex but country-wide, wide is to give up sweets or limit the amount of sugar consumed on a daily basis. As dentists, we are thrilled with this goal since it not only boosts overall health but protects your teeth and benefits your mouth overall.
However, sugar addiction is real and it can be hard to go cold turkey. Just ask everyone who recently fell off the resolution wagon. In fact, many people who go cold turkey end up binging more on sweets later on.
As the adults in the family are looking to clean up their diet, this is also the perfect opportunity to stress good oral health with your children and educate on how increased sugar can adversely impact our oral health.
If you’re still holding strong or needing another kick in the pants, below are the worst “sweet offenders” for both adults and children.
Hard candies aren’t normally at the top of people’s list of favorite sweets, but they can be hard to resist because they’re seemingly everywhere. They’re filling jars in offices, waiting rooms and goodie bags all over the place, and it’s hard to avoid a Jolly Rancher or sucker if you’re looking for a sugar fix.
However, these candies are not just bad for teeth when you bite into them (which can risk a chipped tooth or broken filling), but the real harm is caused by the sugar. Prolonged sucking on the surgery treat allows extra time for the sugars in the candy to penetrate your teeth and sink into your gum line. If you don’t immediately brush your teeth, this can easily lead to cavities and gingivitis.
In addition, for children, many of these candies have been identified as the number-one choking hazard in children under 14. For safety alone, it’s important for children to avoid these hard candies.
If you are looking for something that will give you a sweet fix for an extended set of time, try sugar-free gum. Many brands are approved by the American Dental Association and chewing will actually improve your oral health!
If you are trying to avoid sticky, sweet candy, turning to dried fruit seems like a logical alternative. Unfortunately, many dried fruits are incredibly sticky and filled with sugar and can leave a residue on your teeth for hours after eating.
In lieu of dried fruits, aim to consume raw fruits. They don’t stick to your teeth, don’t have the added sugar and DO have a higher nutritional value than their dried counterparts. Raw fruits also provide needed fiber and other nutrients essential for a growing child.
Soda and juice
In order to protect your teeth, it’s time to say “sayonara” to sodas—both regular and diet. And, even where kids haven’t picked up the caffeine habit yet, some juices are actually worse than soda when you look at the sugar content and other key ingredients. The acids and sugars in these beverages attack your teeth and can cause real, lasting damage.
Instead, create your own flavored water by squeezing fruit juices. If you miss the bubbles, try sparkling water instead of flat water. This alternative will protect your teeth and ensure you’re always well hydrated!
While a big bowl of your favorite sugary cereal may be a staple in the morning for both you and your kids, it’s bad news for your teeth—and waistline.
While you can easily identify cereals with chocolate or marshmallows as “not healthy,” other granolas or whole grain cereal contain significant amounts of added sugar that you might not have bothered to read on the label. If you do choose to eat cereal in the morning, remember to brush your teeth after so the sugar doesn’t sit on your teeth and on your gum line all day.
Have more tips for kicking the sweet habit? Start the conversation on Facebook!