SUGAR GOES BY MANY NAMES and hides where we’d least expect it. Molasses and maltose? Sugar. Corn syrup and sucrose? Sugar. Honey and agave nectar? They’re sugar too!
Sugar in some form is added to 74 percent of packaged foods, and the average American consumes 57 POUNDS of added sugar every year. That’s a lot of fuel for the harmful bacteria living in our mouths (particularly during orthodontic treatment when there are so many extra nooks and crannies for food to stay trapped after meals and snacks).
Sugar has many negative health effects, but as dental professionals, we’re focused on how it impacts our teeth. Sugar consumption is closely linked to gum disease and tooth decay, and it can eventually lead to needing treatment like fillings and root canal therapy.
So how can we avoid sugar when it has so many disguises? The easiest way is to cut out sugary sodas, fruit juices, and cereals for ourselves and our kids. We should also pay attention to food labels and try to buy foods with less added sugar. Finally, if we make more of our food from scratch, we’ll have better control of how much sugar goes into it!