There is always a controversial question floating around social media: is sugar addictive? The most common answer to this by medical professionals is no unless you’re eating tablespoons of sugar uncontrollably, you’re not addicted to sugar. However, it’s very easy to crave highly palatable foods that are full of fats and sugar. Anyone who has a sweet tooth will know that it isn’t easy to stop themselves reaching for the next cupcake or biscuit. Craving sugar is a very real thing, and some people are affected more than others. It would always be better for people to be addicted to cucumber or lettuce, but it’s just not as palatable as candy and chocolate!
Sugar is awful for our teeth and while we can read article after article about sugar addiction, what we should be paying attention to is the effect sugar has on our teeth. The potential for tooth decay is high with food that is higher in sugar, and we’re taught this from a very young age. From childhood, we are told not to eat too many sweet foods, or our teeth will rot. We’re taught that we need to worry about cavities and tooth decay, and this applies to us as adults, too. You can brush your teeth and floss until your heart’s content, but it won’t protect you from tooth decay and cavities caused by sugar.
What Is The Effect On Your Teeth?
It’s very easy to dive headfirst into a muffin over a celery stick, but it’s essential to understand how sugar affects us more than veggies! Bacteria in the mouth feed off of sugar to survive and wreak havoc on your teeth. Consuming sugary food causes the bacteria to develop acidic byproducts, and this then damages the teeth directly. The enamel of your teeth can stain and wear down because of the sugar that you are consuming, and the more sugar in the food or drink, the more your tooth enamel is destroyed. The enamel actually dissolves over time, and it’s the most fundamental material that protects your teeth. When it’s lost and eroded away by sugar, it’s a big issue, and you need to ensure that your dental care is on point to catch this before it gets worse.
Without controlling your sugar intake, you are going to lose control of your oral hygiene, too. Between dental visits with the hygienist and your regular dentist, you need to be on top of your teeth at all times. Otherwise, you will risk permanent tooth loss, and this can’t be repaired without surgery. The normal pH of the inside of your mouth sits at around 7, and when this number drops, there is a much higher chance of tooth decay. Sugar can attract harmful bacteria into your mouth, but more than that, it can result in a lower pH, too.
How To Prevent Cavities & Decay
The obvious solution here is that the best way to prevent tooth decay and other dental health issues is to reduce how much sugar you are consuming. From sodas to palatable foods that are rich in fat and sugar, you need to reduce how much of it you’re eating. When you do this, you reduce the risk of tooth decay and cavities. Along with lowering your sugar consumption, you can increase your ability with tooth brushing and flossing. If you are paying attention to your teeth outside of those vital dental appointments, you are going to be able to reduce the damage on your teeth. It’s not just brushing and flossing, either. It would help if you had a mouthwash that is powerful enough to reduce the bacteria flourishing in your mouth.
What To Do When Craving Sugar
So, while we can’t consider sugar to be an addiction unless you’re mainlining sugar, we can agree that sugar cravings are very real. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating delicious, rich, and sweet foods without abandon. It feels impossible to ignore those cravings, but with the right willpower, you can definitely slow down on how much you are eating. The key is balance, and we’ve got some suggestions to help you to let those cravings bounce off of you.
The first thing that you can do is to remember that it’s in your head. You do not NEED sweet food; you’re making a conscious choice to continue to eat it. So, remind yourself that you don’t have to listen to those cravings.
Turn to fruit over soda and candy, and you can do something better for your health. Fruits have sugar, but these sugars are naturally occurring, and it’s processed sugar that causes those urges to stuff down the doughnuts. Fruit gives you the sweet hit that you need without resorting to food that will damage your teeth.
Turning to sugar-free gum can help you to reduce your cravings. Minty flavors often curb those urges for a binge, especially where sweet foods are involved.
Artificial sweetener is an excellent alternative to processed sugar. Most people aren’t a big fan of sweetener like Stevia and Sweet’n’Low, but it can take the edge off without being horrendous for your teeth. It’s essential to note that substitutes aren’t necessarily a healthy option, but they are an excellent alternative as you move into cutting back how much you are eating.
Give yourself a bit of a break when it comes to sugar. Your cravings are very real, and you should indulge every now and then. It’s not a failure on your part to enjoy sweet food, nor is it a failure to overdo it every now and then. The key is in trying, and you can succeed in reducing your sugar in your diet with the right support.
If you are worried about the health of your teeth or how much sugar you are consuming, why not book an appointment with your dentist? You need to have regular appointments to ensure that your dental care is of a high standard, so why not start today?