Summertime can be the perfect time to have braces. Not only do you tend to have a bit more free time to schedule your appointments, you’re able to really buckle down and focus on taking care of your teeth, so once the braces are off, you’ll be able to enjoy a perfect smile. One of the biggest problems patients face, especially during the summer, is sugar intake. Summer is a time for cookouts and parties, where sugary treats and drinks run rampant, and sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. Here’s how to limit sugar intake while in braces this summer.
The Truth About Sugar
Sugar can cause a number of problems with your overall health. Excessive sugar intake can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and can also cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall quickly. In addition, excessive sugar consumption leads to tooth decay and gum disease, which in turn, can lead to heart disease. Sugar causes tooth decay quicker than any other food, and also leads to behavior and cognition problems. Even though sugar can seem harmless at first, consuming it in large amounts does a lot of damage. So, how can you limit your sugar intake? Here are some helpful tips.
Look at Food Labels
Sugar has a tendency to hide itself among other ingredients on food labels, which is why taking the time to learn sugar’s aliases is key. Look for items like added sweeteners, fruit concentrates and high fructose corn syrup, and be sure to look at the amount of sugar per serving. Learning how to read food labels can make a big difference when trying to limit your sugar intake, especially when you have braces. As sugar sits on the teeth or in between your brackets, it goes to work breaking down the teeth while you remain unaware. Some foods you may have never expected may contain high amounts of sugar, so by reading the labels, you’ll be able to figure out which foods should stay in the diet and which foods to toss.
Clean Out Your Pantry
Now comes the hard part…clearing away all of the fun snacks you have in your pantry. Often times, if the dangerous food isn’t there, we won’t be tempted to eat it, so give your pantry an overhaul. Read the labels and get rid of the foods that are high in sugar, replacing them with healthier alternatives. If you’re looking to add a bit of flavor to a sweet dish, try adding in some spices, like:
Not only will these give your dish a great flavor, you’ll be limiting the amount of sugar as well.
Other Helpful Tips for Cutting Sugar
It can be difficult to cut sugar from your diet, but protecting your teeth is important. It’s recommended to wean yourself off of sugar slowly. After all, sugar can be very addictive, so quitting all at once can be tough, often leading to a relapse. The less sugar in your diet, the less your body will crave it. And finally, substitute water for sugary sodas. This is extremely important for braces patients, as the sugar from soda has a tendency sit on the teeth. If you do enjoy an occasional soda, be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
Sugar Intake and Your Braces
Having braces means you have new responsibilities as you’re on the journey to a perfect smile. Taking the time to understand what is in the foods you eat and limiting sugar can help you not just now, but for the rest of your life. Enjoy the summer, and keep yourself happy and healthy.
The experts at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists are ready to help you get the smile that you deserve. Contact our offices by calling (843) 642-8100 or visit www.charlestonorthodonticspecialists.com to learn more.