In our modern day, eating patterns have changed dramatically and sweets play a major part in these recent eating changes. Sugar is in variety of natural foods we eat and found in large number of consumer products. The rise of marketing competitions between the food and drink companies have made sweetened and process foods even more attractive to buy and accessible to get.
This makes you choosy and selective among all these sugary foods and drinks. And this when people say “I have a sweet tooth”, which they mean they love sweets a lot. But over-consuming sugar and eating sweet foods doesn’t have as sweet results as you might think. An uncontrolled sweet tooth or sugar craving will have long lasting damages to your health. Every time you overeat sugary drinks and sweets, think about tooth decay and dental caries, obesity, and diseases like diabetes that lurking around to harm you.
You may treat yourself with any sweet things like chocolate, candy or soft drinks that are handy in the nearby supermarkets when hungry or just out of fun. Most of the time, you don’t give in by one piece a day and you crave more for sugar even when you are tired, stressed or even excited. At the end, you end up being addicted to sugar and sugar craving has been difficult to stop.
Types of sugar
Sugar is found naturally in foods and if we extract the natural sugar to add to other foods and drinks, we call it refined sugars. If we want to know what types of sugar we should avoid, so it is better to know more about sugar.
A simple way to understand types of sugar is:
- intrinsic sugars: this sugar is found naturally in the structure of cells of our foods. Fruits and vegetables are good examples of intrinsic sugar. We need this sugar to get our nutrients, vitamins, calcium and other minerals like zinc. Therefore, intrinsic sugar types are useful and healthy type of sugar we need. You don’t need to be feeling panicky about them. Get this sugar in vegetables and fruits and ask others also to do.
- extrinsic sugars (added sugars or refined sugars): extrinsic sugars is the sugar which is formed outside of the chemical structure of foods and drinks. It is divided into both milk extrinsic sugar and non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES). Milk and milk products (dairy products) have milk extrinsic sugar and are necessary nutrients in our daily life. Non-milk extrinsic sugars are the bad sugar type also called refined sugars or added sugars. Craving for sugar or having a sweet tooth lies in the non-milk extrinsic sugars. NMES sugars not only cause tooth decay and dental caries but is the main cause of obesity and type 2diabtes. NMES sugars should be avoided and replaced with other healthier diets. Table sugar, soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candy, fruit juice, breakfast cereals, honey and other sweetened foods and drinks are good examples of NMES sugars.
How sugar damages your teeth?
High sugar intake causes dental caries and tooth decay by destroying the enamel on the surface of our teeth. The bacteria feed on the plaque on teeth, which is formed by foods and sugary diets. These bacteria produce acids and cause demineralization of your teeth. As sugar makes your mouth more acidic, so wait for more bacteria to destroy the enamel surface or deeper destructions in the dentine of your teeth. If you also have low saliva and there isn’t enough fluoride intake in your daily life (in both your water and oral hygiene products), your dental caries can become worse, where you should visit a dentist or a hygienist for help.
Why should we get away from sweets?
The more you eat sweets, the more you contribute to increase caries and decay in your teeth, so do risks of type 2 diabetes. Too much sweet does imbalance your diet. And the imbalance means more hunger and here starts craving more and more for unhealthy high-sugary foods, which only leave you in bad-shaped teeth with temporary full stomach. The number one cause of dental caries is sugar, so limit your intake of NMES sugars and cut down on drinks and foods with added sugar. Whether it is because of stimulation and release of chemicals in your brain or just for sheer joy, you must control your sugar intake.
Apart from other risks to your body, the damages to dental health by sugar can live years with you and will cost you dental restoration expenses and you should seek replacing your lost teeth with implants, dental bridges or dentures.
Stop your sweet tooth to have healthier teeth
The energy you need during the day will usually determine your eating and number of portions of foods. You don’t need as much calorie when you are not doing sports or don’t have any hard physical activity. By stopping your sugar craving and sticking to a healthy diet, you will prevent tooth decay and guarantee a better oral and dental health. And finally, you will contribute to your overall general health.
6 useful tips to fight your sugar cravings and deal with your sweet tooth:
- Eat fruits: If your sugar craving strikes or you feel so hungry that you want to get some chocolate or a cake to kill your hunger, stop right there and reach for some fruits. Fruits are healthier, nutritious and rich in vitamins. You can use dried fruits and nuts also, which are healthier than your sugary options.
- Eat breakfast and your regular meals: skipping breakfast means more hungry feelings during the day and late nights. Try to have your regular meals at the right time. Eat starchy, high-protein and fiber-rich foods for your meals. And if your job doesn’t allow you to have a specific time for lunch or dinner, make your own healthy home-made snacks with healthier choices instead of fast foods, pizza, high-calorie sandwiches and other processed and manufactured foods.
- Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks: whenever you are craving for beers, soft drinks, fruit juice and sugary beverages to quench your thirst, stop and do not easily give in. Drink water instead. Water helps you stay hydrated and keeps the moisture in your mouth in a balanced range, which increases your saliva flow and prevents a dry mouth unlike sugary drinks that gives you a usually dry mouth. Plus, fluoride in water is necessary for mineralization of our teeth.
- Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste: use appropriate toothpastes that have enough fluoride to get rid of plaque and tartar formed on your teeth and give your teeth’s enamel the sufficient daily fluoride intake. Regular brushing with fluoridated toothpastes will strengthen your enamel and helps in remieralization of your teeth especially if you have been using candies and sweetened foods and drinks for a long time.
- Use mouthwash: rinse your mouth with mouthwash especially ones that contain fluoride. Avoid mouthwashes that have alcohol ingredients in that because of risks of dry mouth. Routine use of mouthwash washes away the food residue that are sticking to your teeth.
- Indulge but don’t be too generous: no one wants you to stop sweets and candies forever. Just limit the use of NMES sugar types. Indulge yourself with your favorite chocolate bar or your favorite sweetened drink or foods you enjoy BUT just for a little quantity and once in a while. If the sweets are really tempting, occasionally you can treat yourself with the candy you like or maybe drink your tea or green tea with that to reduce sticking effects of sweets to your teeth.