Oral Health News

February 2016

Join the "sugar war"

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and the American Dental Association wants you to join the crew of the “USS SugarSwatter” to “eliminate sugars wherever they lurk!”

Where do sugars lurk? While we all know that sugars exist in “sweets” (cookies, donuts, soda, etc.), you may be surprised to learn that non-sweet, starchy foods (potato chips, granola bars, crackers, etc.) also contain sugar. Germs in our mouth use sugars to create acids. These acids weaken the tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities.

How can you win the “war” on sugar? While it is not necessary to completely eliminate these processed foods from your diet, you can follow the tips below to limit the damage from these foods.

  • Eat sweet and starchy processed foods only with meals.
  • Avoid “grazing” (eating frequently throughout the day). Each time you take a bite, a 20-minute “acid attack” begins to weaken your teeth.
  • Drink sweetened beverages (soda, juice, sports drinks, etc.) with meals and drink tap water throughout the day.
  • Offer nutritious snacks between meals. Teeth-healthy snack ideas include whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, edamame (soy beans), lean meat and cheeses.
  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss before bed
  • See your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up

More resources

National Children's Dental Health Month - American Dental Association