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It goes by a lot of names—table sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, cane juice, fructose, sucrose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and many more—but it’s all pretty much the same thing: sugar. And while most of us know better than to overindulge in the sweet stuff, we may not always be entirely sure about why. There’s a lot that you probably don’t know about sugar and how it can affect your teeth, your body, and your overall health. Here’s a quick primer from your Overland Park dentist:
1.You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing.
Sure, sugar is sweet and all, and it can be found in lots of foods that taste great, but most of us eat way too much sugar. According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, most Americans eat around 22 teaspoons of sugar every day, or an average of around 76 pounds of sugar in a single year! This is partly because sugar is found in so many foods, sometimes in ones that you wouldn’t expect.
2.It’s Simple to Identify the Sugary Foods You Shouldn’t Eat.
Some foods are obvious sugar traps. With candy bars, cookies, and other desserts, you probably know what you’re getting into before you snack. When it comes to other foods, though, check the package for the ingredient list. Ingredients are always listed in order from the largest to the smallest quantity, so if sugar is one of the first five or so ingredients, you might want to opt for a less sweet alternative. You’ll be surprised by how many foods contain sugar!
3.Sugar Doesn’t Actually Cause Cavities.
Wait, weren’t we just saying that your Overland Park dentist recommends that you cut down on sugar, partly to protect your teeth? It’s true, but it’s also true that sugar isn’t actually what causes the cavities that come when you eat sugary snacks. Instead, the bacteria in your mouth consume the sugar that you eat and secrete acids, which are what actually damage your teeth and lead to cavities. While sugar doesn’t directly cause cavities, if you eat a sugar-heavy diet, cavities probably aren’t far behind.
4.Too Much Sugar CAN Give You Wrinkles, Though!
Sugar may not be directly responsible for cavities, but it does have other detrimental effects to your health and, indeed, your appearance. In fact, sugar can actually impact the elasticity of your skin, rendering collagen more brittle, which can lead to more wrinkles as you get older!
5.In Fact, Sugar Can Hijack Every Aspect of Your Health.
Having too much of anything is bad for you, of course, but the amount of sugar that most of us eat definitely falls in that “too much” range, which can lead to a whole host of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. Not only that, but excess sugar consumption can also affect how you feel throughout your day, including making you feel hungry even when you’ve had plenty to eat.
The bad news is that most of us eat way too much sugar. The good news is that a sugar addiction isn’t terribly difficult to break. It helps if you have a little extra knowledge about what you’re up against and some advice from your Overland Park dentist. If you want to help cut excess sugar out of YOUR diet, read our companion article on FIVE Ways to Beat Your Sugar Addiction here or call Watts Family Dental anytime at (913) 338-3384!