It is no secret that we all have a sweet tooth, some more than others. Whether you have an instant craving for a snack or are treating yourself after a long day at work. Sugar is always going to be a part of everyday life unless you choose to completely avoid it by personal choice.
But what if you try to avoid it and still come across those hidden sugars? As part of Dental Health Week 2020, we have decided to outline hidden sugars in products that you may not be aware of!
What is Dental Health Week?
Dental Health Week is one of the most important times of the year to educate Australians on the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene.
Dental Health Week is an annual campaign led by the Australian Dental Association which runs in the first full week of August. This year, Dental Health Week runs from Monday August 3 until Sunday August 9.
Hidden Sugar in food
The average daily intake of sugar is around 24 grams which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons of sugar. Therefore, we may reach this limit very quickly if we consume the wrong products.
Some hidden sugars to look for on the back of a product’s nutrition label include:
- Words like fructose or dextrose which end in ‘ose’
- Has sugar in its name like ‘raw sugar’
Our team has outlined several products that contain a little more sugar than you may think.
Thick syrups commonly contain sugar which is dissolved in water. Honey is made up of around 75 percent of sugar (per 100 grams) which is split between glucose and fructose. Glucose and fructose are also naturally found in fruits and vegetables.
Although honey is a great a sweetener and does display some health benefits, you may not want to overindulge yourself in it.
Honey may increase your sugar levels which may lead to:
- Gaining weight
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Heart disease
Yogurt is another food that we deem to be healthy which can also contain a fair amount of hidden sugars. However, this sugar level varies from product to product. Plain yogurts that are unsweetened may have around 4 to 7 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
Yogurts that are low in sugar include:
- Natural or Greek yogurt
- Low-fat products
Furthermore, yogurt cultures are a bacteria found in yogurt which ferment lactose. With lactose being a natural sugar that is also found in milk, you can add that to the list of hidden sugar.
Muesli bars are deemed as a healthy and suitable lunch time snack that you or your kids may eat for lunch. Yes, the amount does vary in different brands however if you are watching what you eat, read the nutrition information on the back!
Furthermore, flavours like chocolate or caramel muesli bars are going to produce higher amounts of sugar.
However, bars with dry fruit may also increase the sugar level of a product. Therefore, you should take time to do some research beforehand.
Wholemeal breakfast cereal
Most of us wake up to a fresh bowl of cereal before we start our day. Whether you are rushing to go to work, school or too lazy to make eggs on toast, it is a great go-to meal.
But how healthy are our wholemeal cereals?
Research suggests, granola contains large amounts of sugar so you should be wary of your favourite natural, whole grain cereal. However, the amount may vary depending on the product so you should consult with a health professional to find out what’s best for you.
Effects of sugar
In the long term, everything is good in moderation providing you maintain your oral hygiene. If you do not maintain good oral hygiene, then bad oral conditions can occur.
There are two common oral issues linked to the over consumption of sugar without maintaining good oral hygiene. These include:
When you frequently consume sugary food or drink products and do not clean your teeth, bad bacteria in your mouth begins to thrive. The bacteria feed off the sugar which eventually forms into plaque. As a result, the plaque produces an acid as it metabolises the sugar.
If plaque is left on your teeth it can cause damage to your enamel and result in tooth decay.
When you are consuming sugary food or liquid products such as soft drink, sugar can find its way within your:
- Cracks of your mouth or teeth
As a result, bacteria and plaque may build up in your mouth where it is hard for you to reach or clean.
If left unattended or treated, your gums may become inflamed which is generally the early stage of gum disease. Another early symptom of gum disease is when your gums begin to separate away from your teeth. As a result, this may be why your gums bleed after you brush or floss your teeth.
Gum disease or periodontal may also weaken the structure of your gum and cause your tooth to become loose.
Tips for maintaining your oral health
Your oral health is important to us so we have outlined 3 tips to enhance your oral health after you’ve consumed sugar.
Brush and floss
From a dentist’s perspective, you should brush and floss twice a day for optimal hygiene. Brushing after a meal is also not a bad idea, especially after consuming sugary products such as soft drink or a piece of cake.
The quicker you remove the sugar and food left in your mouth, the better your oral health will be. Furthermore, you may also reduce the risk of plaque developing in your mouth.
Read the label
If you are unsure whether a product contains too much sugar ask a health professional or read the label. Yes, you may be in a rush to get in and out of a store but by doing this you may just enhance your oral health.
Check-up and clean
By undertaking a check-up and clean every six months with your dentist, you can keep on top of your oral health. Your dentist will also be able to effectively monitor and address any issues that may occur.