fat-free

Does My Tea or Coffee Really Need Sugar?

September 22nd, 2019

It's not a surprise that sugar is bad for our teeth, but it's sometimes hard to resist consuming each day. We are often asked, "would you like sugar in your coffee?" or "would you like sugar added to your tea?" This can lead to a spiral of adding one teaspoon of sugar to even three or four teaspoons for that perfect tasting cup of tea or coffee. It might sound like a small amount, but each day as you have your morning jump-start of caffeine it can add up and take a harmful toll on your teeth. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that the maximum amount of added sugars you should consume each day is 37.5 grams/9 teaspoons for men, and 25 grams/6 teaspoons for women. These numbers are quick to reach, for example, one can of coke contains a whopping 36 grams of sugar! According to a study conducted by Euromonitor in 2015, the United States is the #1 country that consumes the most sugar per person each day (126.4 grams). The impact of sugar on oral and overall health is significant, as sugar can increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and most widely known, tooth decay.

Reducing or cutting out adding sugar completely to your tea or coffee can be a great start to a healthier lifestyle. Natural sweetness such as xylitol have been found to help reduce the risk of tooth decay and can be a great alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Remember, your diet plays an important role in your dental and general health. Be sure to notice when food labels mention words such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, or corn syrup, for instance, as these are also masked terms for sugar.

Take a look at some tips to help reduce sugar in your daily diet:

Eat a healthy breakfast

Starting the day off with a healthy filling breakfast can give you the energy you need to get through the day and help you avoid snacking throughout the day on items that may contain a lot of sugar. Try picking out cereals that have no added sugar, and having tooth-friendly items including cheese, or yogurt. It's best not to consume sugary snacks throughout the day because frequency of sugar exposure is more detrimental for your teeth than the amount of sugar consumed. When we eat sugary and acidic foods, the pH of our mouths become lower and more acidic, which can put your teeth in a weakened state. When you do need a snack, be sure to choose healthy snack options.

Note that fat free does not equal sugar free
Some items are highlighted as healthy products because they are fat-free. However, fat-free items may still contain high amounts of sugar which can negatively impact your teeth. Be sure to look at the nutrition label when buying fat-free products to see how much sugar is in them.
Avoid sticky foods
Sticky foods such as candy, and even dried fruits can become trapped within teeth and harm your tooth enamel.
Keep up with your dental visits 

Your dentist can help you keep up with maintaining your pearly-whites and ensuring that they are healthy. It is important to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.dentalhealth.org/blog/phasing-out-our-addiction-to-sugar-one-sugarless-tea-and-coffee-at-a-time

https://coach.nine.com.au/diet/the-20-countries-who-eat-the-most-and-the-least-sugar/76adbc2d-1c89-4e7c-9693-0b875afadaad#1

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