How Much Hidden Sugar Is In Your Diet?

OUR DIET IS FULL OF HIDDEN SUGARS and no amount of preventive care or fluoride can stop tooth decay. We need to help ourselves with some care about what’s in our diet.

Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Cause Cavities

When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.

Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities. Recent studies also suggest that our high levels of sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and increased risk of heart disease. The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.

Cut Sugar Intake In Half

After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). The most recent figures for the UK show that the average percentage of daily energy intake from free sugars (not naturally part of the food) is 12.1% for adults, 15.6% for adolescents, and 14.7% for children

Beware Of Hidden Sugars

How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a ‘nutritional’ food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:

  • Molasses & Maltose
  • Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
  • Sorghum syrup

This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.

3 Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar

Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.

  1. Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
  2. Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, cereal bars, yogurt, and sugary breakfast cereals in addition to regular sweets.
  3. A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth

You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth or lifestyle. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! Let us know if you ever have any questions about your oral health. We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!

Top image by Flickr user Tom Page used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. Image cropped and modified from original.