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The Not-So-Sweet Impact of Sugar on Your Oral & Overall Health

February 2, 2024.Claudia Rojas.0 Likes.0 Comments

The Not-So-Sweet Impact of Sugar on Your Oral & Overall Health

couple holding heart-shaped balloons

Valentine’s Day is a time to be sweet to those you love, whether that means your significant other, your friends, or your family. But there are a few not-so-sweet drawbacks to the love-filled holiday, and that’s the oral and overall health risks of some traditional Valentine’s Day treats.

Candy conversation hearts, red velvet cheesecake, and chocolate martinis are all associated with celebration, but they’re also loaded with excess sugar. This matters because consuming too much sugar too often can contribute to:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Overall health problems such as diabetes and heart disease

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to limit sugar without losing the romance. Let’s review some oral and overall health risks and how you can avoid them.

Sugar’s Impact on Your Oral Health

The oral health impact of sugar can last long after the taste. That’s because sugar from candies, sodas, carbohydrates, and other sweet treats isn’t just food for you – it also feeds the bacteria in your mouth.

Sugar helps bacteria multiply, and it combines with those bacteria to create plaque and mouth acids. If you don’t clean your teeth and gums with a regular brushing and flossing routine, the plaque and mouth acids will erode your tooth enamel. Eventually, this will lead to the development of tartar, tooth decay, and cavities.

Limiting Sugar Reduces Many Health Risks

Reducing the amount of sugar you consume is a great way to reduce many, many health risks, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. And the list doesn’t stop there! A diet rich in sweets will also increase your risk for inflammation, asthma, stroke, and some forms of cancer.[1]

On top of these long-term issues, consuming too much sugar can create immediate problems. Excess sugar intake will cause your glucose levels to spike and then plummet, which can lead to mood swings, fatigue, and headaches.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily intake of added sugar to 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women.[2]

Shield Your Smile from Cupid

Now for the good news – there are plenty of healthy ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day or any other happy occasion. Try these tips to have a sweet time and still protect your smile!

  • Enjoy dark chocolate in moderation: Dark chocolate is typically lower in sugar than milk or white chocolate. It is also high in fiber and provides antioxidants that help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.[3]
  • Fall in love with healthy alternatives: Giving an edible fruit arrangement in place of chocolate is a nutritious way to express your affection. If you’re cooking at home, swap out unhealthy ingredients (like using low-fat Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese).
  • Find ways to celebrate without food: Create a romantic playlist, take a scenic walk, plan a game or movie night, write notes of appreciation to people you care about – there are endless sugar-free options.

It’s great to get lost in the Valentine’s Day fun, but don’t forget about your daily oral health routine! You can protect your smile from sugar every day by brushing twice for two minutes each time and flossing.




Categories: Individuals

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