Sugar is tasty and everyone is attracted to it. There are natural forms and processed forms. They are the fundamentals of carbohydrates, natural chemicals found in fruits and vegetables. Dietary sugar helps deliver quick energy, Excess dietary carbohydrates have been associated with obesity, diabete3s, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions. For example, when your dietary sugar intake exceeds the calories you use, they are converted to fat. Dietary sugar consumption in the United States may be as hazardous to your health as cigarettes. Dietary sugar may also result in tooth decay and gum diseases that lead to pain and tooth loss.
Nobody enjoys visiting the dentist. There are many negatives associations but, compared to the pain from cavities, bleeding gums, and tooth loss, routine dental examinations are essential. Despite finances and cost, many people in the United States avoid routine dental exams. While dental diseases have genetic components, dietary sugar is often the more common culprit.
Sugars, especially dietary sugar, are found as additives to many foods as preservatives and as attractors to taste buds. These are often the silent sugars. Most foods use processed and refined sugars that are simplex – easily absorbed. They add to sustained marketability. People in the United States do not realize that excesses of dietary sugar act like opioids as a drug in our bodies.
Opium is an illicit drug and is an opioid. Dietary sugar has played significant roles in evolution. Excess dietary sugar helps unlock opioid receptors in the brain. Biting into an apple turnover with sugared coffee makes you feel good in the morning. But many those added sugars plant themselves on teeth and gums as you chew the pastry. Sugared beverages, including coffee, can also leave sugar deposits on teeth and gums. For those craving sweets, it is a lose/lose situation. Can you change it to a win/lose situation? Can you beat bacterial plaque at gum lines? The answer is yes.
Using an electric toothbrush each morning and evening (after dinner), is essential. The Philips Sonicare brush is recommended by many dentists. The brush head resembles a standard, manual toothbrush but it vibrates and helps remove bacterial deposits on teeth and gums.
Beware of toothpastes. Many use sweeteners for flavor enhancement. Some toothpastes contain Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide in their formulas. Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) was used as an ingredient in tooth powders used many years ago. It is believed that this form of salt was beneficial to teeth and gums. There are conflicting studies about using an antiseptic solution of hydrogen peroxide for dental health. The amount of hydrogen peroxide used in toothpaste formulas is very small. These are good toothpastes to use but they do have a somewhat objectionable aftertaste, even with flavoring.
A more portable approach for use at different times of the day is the DentalMate portable gum vibrator. The pocketable device is a gum vibrator that uses 1 AAA battery. Massaging gums helps keep blood circulating allowing the body’s natural defenses to keep your gums healthier.
Dental floss has had a 100 year history as a way of cleaning teeth and gums away from home, or after meals. While most see it as a thread, many floss companies produce portable floss picks that many find more convenient. These help release foods that seem to stick to your teeth, such as that morning apple turnover. Frequent habitual use of dental floss is a great antagonist against the tooth decay and gum sickness resulting from your sugar habit.
Does flossing turn you off? Try sugarless chewing gum using xylitol or sorbitol as sweeteners. Xylitol and sorbitol are forms of sugar alcohols and are not derived from cane sugars. Plaque causing bacteria love sugar but can’t ingest those sugar alcohols. Corncobs are the natural source for xylitol as a sweetener, though much may be synthesized in labs. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener. The act of chewing gum helps remove particles between teeth, especially at gum levels, after eating. It is viewed as more sociable by many.
Of course, frequent visits to your dentist for a cleaning and exam every 6 months (or as directed) helps keep you on track. You can find out how your habitual vigilance is impacting your general oral health. It often helps tooth and gum longevity.
We live in a world of bacteria and viruses that can impact our health in many serious ways. There are many methods that you can control to monitor and reduce bacterial formations in terms of routine dental hygiene. As far as sugar addiction goes, that’s a habit that may be impossible to break. Developing better dental habits is one way to have your sweets and smile. Becoming more responsible with use of dietary sugar may give you more reasons to keep smiling.