Who doesn’t love a sweet treat now and again? We can all appreciate a cookie, piece of candy, or a soda on occasion but what happens when sugar intake gets out of control? If the numbers are anything to be believed then most of us are already far past that point! The general sugar intake guidelines say you shouldn’t eat more than six teaspoons a day. But the average American consumes over 20 teaspoons a day!
At Really Smile Dental we spend a lot of time talking about sugar but we usually focus on the dental problems it causes. Today we want to go a bit further and talk about what sugar can do to your overall health. We aren’t saying you have to completely eliminate your sugar intake but you should definitely reduce it if you’re over a healthy amount!
Sugar And Your Teeth
You’ve probably been told that sugar causes cavities, but do you know how? It has to do with that sticky stuff on your teeth. You know, that film that builds up over the course of the day? That’s plaque. Plaque contains countless bacteria that simply love to feast on the sugar you eat – it’s their favorite food too!
When plaque bacteria eat the sugar in your diet the produce acids. Those acids are responsible for tooth decay! Plaque acids soften your enamel, allowing bacteria to get inside and produce more acids, quickly breaking it apart. The more acid plaque creates the worse off your teeth are!
Sugar And Your Body
This is where things go from bad to worse! Sugar that you eat has a serious effect on your body, especially in quantities as large as those consumed by the average American!
There are two types of sugar in most the foods you eat: glucose and fructose. Glucose comes in carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, bread, and other grain-based products. Our body is able to use glucose for energy, which it does through the release of insulin. Insulin moves glucose to cells that need energy but there is a problem: excess glucose isn’t used for energy and is instead stored as fat!
Despite the problems that come with excess glucose fructose is far worse. There’s no energy potential from fructose, so it goes right to your liver. From there your body just turns it into fat! Fructose is the sugar found in soda, candy, and other sugary treats and is one of the big reasons for the rising levels of obesity all over the world.
That isn’t to say glucose is off the hook! It can be stored as fat but is especially a problem when consumed in excess because of the release of insulin. Abnormally high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, a serious health condition!
And it isn’t just diabetes, obesity, and bad teeth to worry about: excess sugar is linked to a number of medical conditions!
- Too much fructose can lead to a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This can lead to eventual liver failure!
- Heavy sugar consumption can lead to cancer due to elevated inflammation levels throughout the body!
- Elevated inflammation levels can also lead to heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases.
There are a lot conditions that can be aggravated by obesity, which is a definite side effect of too much sugar consumption. You might be surprised to find out what can go wrong with your health just because you had an extra soda!
Taking Care Of Yourself
We give a lot of dental advice at our Carmel office but today we’re going to give some general health tips. Try to reduce your sugar consumption, especially of sweets containing high levels of fructose! You should also strive to stay active, even if it’s just for half an hour a day. By trying to get just a little bit of exercise you’ll be doing a lot for your overall health!
And of course, if you’re eating sugar be sure you always keep your teeth clean! We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing in the evening. There are a lot of tough spots to keep clean in your mouth!
Lastly, be sure to schedule regular dental exams and cleanings at our Carmel dentist office. We’ll make sure you and your teeth stay healthy and happy!
If you have any questions about your dental health don’t hesitate to contact us! You can reach Really Smile Dentistry at 317-451-4050 and you can request an appointment by filling out our online form! We look forward to seeing you soon!