- Published Date: 10 Sep 2020
- Updated Date: 22 Mar 2021
- Reading Time: 3 min
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. James Moran D.D.S
There is always a controversial question floating around social media: is sugar really addictive? The most common answer to this by medical professionals is no, unless you are consuming an alarming amount of sugar uncontrollably, you are unlikely to fall under the category of addiction. 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 from reaching for the next cupcake or candy bar. Craving sugar is a very real thing, and some people are affected more than others. Wouldn’t it be better for people to be addicted to cucumber or lettuce, but they are just not as palatable as candy.
Sugar is detrimental for our teeth and while we can read article after article about sugar addiction, what we should really be paying attention to is the effect sugar has on our teeth. The potential risk for tooth decay increases with food that is higher in sugar. We have always been taught to worry about cavities and tooth decay. You can brush and floss until your heart’s content, but it won’t protect you from tooth decay and cavities caused by high sugar intake.
What Is The Effect On Your Teeth?
Bacteria in the mouth feeds off of sugar to survive, thrive, and wreak havoc on your teeth. Consuming sugary food causes the bacteria to develop acidic byproducts, and this can directly dissolve the tooth enamel which is the fundamental material that protects your teeth. When it is damaged and eroded away by acids there is a serious issue at hand, and you need to ensure that your dental care is on point to prevent this.Sugar can not only attract harmful bacteria into your mouth, it also may decrease the pH making it more acidic. The normal pH inside of your mouth is usually at around 7, and when this number decreases, there is a much higher chance of tooth decay.
Between dental visits with the dentist and hygienist, you need to take proper care of your teeth at all times. Not doing so you will put you at risk for permanent tooth loss, which could lead to costly and time-consuming treatments.
How To Prevent Cavities & Decay
The obvious solution here to help prevent tooth decay and otherhealth issues is to reduce how much sugar you are consuming. When you do this, you reduce the risk of tooth decay and need for other treatments. Along with lowering your sugar consumption, you can increase your brushing and flossing to stand a better chance against decay. If you are giving proper attention to your teeth outside of regular dental appointments, you should be able to reduce the damage on your teeth. Moreoverusing a mouthwash can be recommended 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, we can agree that sugar cravings are very real. It is easy to fall into the trap of eating rich and sweet foods without abandon. However, the key is balance, and here are some suggestions to reduce those cravings.
The first thing that you can do is to remember that you do not NEED sweets; yet you’re making a conscious choice to continue to consume them. So, remind yourself that you don’t have to.
Turn to fruit instead of soda and candy, so that you can do something better for your health. Despite the fact fruits have sugars, their natural composition is far less damaging than the synthetic sugar we put in our body.
Chewing sugar-free gum, many with xylitol, can help 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. Many people are not proponents of sweeteners like Stevia and Sweet’n’Low, but they can be a substitute without being horrendous for your teeth. It’s essential to note that most are not necessarily the healthiest option, but they are an excellent alternative to decrease how much you sugar are consuming.
It’s not a failure on your part to enjoy sweet food, nor is it a failure to seemingly overdo it every now and then. The key is to try, and you can succeed in reducing sugar in your diet.
If you are worried about the health of your teeth 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?
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. James Moran D.D.S