Plateau Dental Care

Four easy ways to help reduce the impact of sugar on your oral health

Australia currently sits in the top 10 countries for soft drink consumption per capita, a worrying statistic when sugar is strongly linked to tooth decay, gum disease, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

We are seeing health facilities across Australia starting to take the lead by removing sugary drinks from vending machines, hospital kiosks and cafes. This is a welcome change as more and more research proves the detrimental effects of sugar not only on your oral health but also on your overall wellbeing.

What happens in your mouth when you consume drinks high in sugar? The plaque, containing an overgrowth of normal flora bacteria react with sugar to form an acidic environment which attacks the hard-protective layer of your teeth, called the enamel. Without this protective layer, you are more likely to develop decay and tooth sensitivities.

Here are four simple ways to change your sugar consumption:

Choose Water Daily
Water is always the best choice, ALWAYS. Instead of reaching for a soft drink, juice or sports drink, start with a glass of water. Even before, during and after physical activity, water is the best way to stay hydrated. Carrying a refillable water bottle is a great way to start a habit of choosing water (plus less plastic bottles!).

Soft Drinks are for Special Occasions
A soft drink can be a treat sometimes, and should be limited to special occasions. Regular consumption not only results in dental decay but also significantly impact your health in other ways. Studies show drinking a single 375ml can of soft drink a day can contribute up to 5kg of weight in a single year*.

How and When
On those special occasions, drinking a soft drink through a straw limits the exposure of your teeth to the sugar. Drinking water after a soft drink can also help to minimize the sugars effect on your oral health. The time of day also impacts the way sugar affects your teeth, and therefore it is best to avoid sugary drinks when you are unable to brush your teeth or before bedtime.

Read the Label
It is always a good idea to read the label of soft drinks, sport drinks and juices to better understand what you are consuming. A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye out for words such as acid; sweetener, syrup, fructose and glucose, as these ingredients are high risk for your teeth.

Be more conscious of what you are drinking and work towards better oral and overall health!

* rethinksugarydrink.org.au

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