Healthy Smiles Premier Dental

Everyone knows that eating too much sugar, especially if you don’t brush and floss thoroughly twice a day, can cause cavities (the second most common disease next to colds). You may also realize that sweets can feed bacteria that turn into the sticky film on teeth called plaque, which emits acid that eats away at the enamel. Plaque can also lead to gum infections and eventually the loss of teeth. Too much sugar also clearly can contribute to obesity.

So how to crush those sugar cravings and improve your overall oral health? First, it is important to understand why they occur. If you eat a candy bar (or the refined carbohydrates like white bread or pasta that quickly turn into sugar in the blood), you get a temporary rush of energy and mood boost. But then the body reacts to the excess of sugar, sending the hormone insulin to lower it, which often depresses blood sugar below normal, causing that craving again. That’s why the more sugary foods and simple carbs you eat, the more you want them.

There are many ways to prevent this vicious cycle, starting with eating less sugar (the average American consumes nearly 100 pounds a year, because it can be found almost everywhere, since it is used as a preservative). Because the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it: it’s like a drug. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives, like xylitol, stevia, and monk fruit, which do not cause that high and then crash. 

Another way to prevent the cravings is to eat more vegetables, whole grains, seeds, beans, legumes, and nuts, which are complex carbohydrates with fiber that take hours to digest, keeping your blood sugar steady. Protein and good fats can also prevent those cravings, so try a healthier and more balanced diet and you will be surprised at how the addiction to sugar fades.

WebMD says that you can also reach for fruit to satisfy a sweet tooth and eat something every 3-5 hours to keep blood sugar up.

Making sure you are drinking enough water (not sodas or energy drinks) can curb cravings and exercising or taking a walk can take your mind off eating (as can chewing sugar-free gum, which has the extra benefit of exercising your teeth and strengthening them).

Keeping track of the state of your oral health also requires having a full dental exam and a cleaning by your dental hygienist at least twice a year, so if you haven’t been into the office in a while, give us a call to set an appointment. 

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