It may not seem like dental hygiene is a great health issue, but it is. While many acknowledge that sugar increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, it is also a major factor in tooth decay. Because it has become such a concern, there has been a closer look into what types of food and drink are causing the most decay, and health advocates recommend limiting daily intake.

Plan to Improve Dental Health

Fluoride has been used and recommended by many dentists over the years to decrease the incidence of tooth decay, but it is not added to Utah water (like it is in other states), and therefore is not uniformly utilized in this area. Because decay results when oral bacteria and sugar combine, experts in dentistry have determined that sugar is a major concern in addition to fluoride, and are trying to educate patients about the importance of limiting sugar and implementing good oral hygiene.

Policy leaders in the United Kingdom are recommending that additional sugar should only supply five percent or less of total daily caloric intake, and the American Heart Association similarly recommends that added sugars account for less than 100 calories per day for women and 150 for men. The UK is also working on reducing the amount of sugar in drinks and processed foods, but since the same policies are not in place in the U.S. it’s important for consumers to monitor their own food intake and limit sugar accordingly.

What You Can Do

Obviously, cutting down on your sugar intake will help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but what exactly does that look like on a daily basis? Five percent is a very small amount when it comes down to it. For example, if you consume around 2,000 calories in a day, you would be limited to 100 calories of sugar. If you drink a glass of juice in the morning, you have already used up your sugar calorie allotment.

You may find it difficult to cut that much sugar out of your daily diet, but there are other things that you can do to help decrease sugar from mixing with the bacteria in your mouth. After eating or drinking something sweet, rinse your mouth out with water as quickly as possible to flush out the excess sugar. Also brush your teeth regularly, especially after consuming sweets.

Limiting sugar can have several health benefits for people, including reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, controlling weight, and also maintaining strong and healthy teeth.