Sugar is every dentist’s worst enemy. It negatively affects oral health and puts teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and can lead to more serious dental and overall health problems. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we care about our patients’ smiles and well being, which why we’re strong believers in limiting the amount of sugar they ingest. In this blog, we talk about the top ways reduce your child’s sugar intake (and maybe yours too!) for a healthier, happier smile and body.
Sugar: It’s Not Just a Tooth Problem
When most people think of sugar, they immediately think of its negative effect on teeth. And while that’s definitely a fact, too much sugar can be dangerous to overall health too. An abundance of sugar in one’s diet can actually reduce brain function, cause headaches, and lead to overeating, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
How Much Is Too Much?
The recommended amount of sugar intake varies from age to age and between genders. According to the American Heart Association, appropriate daily sugar intake is as follows:
- 1 to 3 years = 12 teaspoons
- 4 to 8 years = 21 teaspoons
- Boys 9 to 19 years = 29-34 grams
- Girls 9 to 19 years = 23-25 grams
Ways to Lower Sugar Intake
- Eliminate sweets. Sounds easier said than done, but there are other healthier ways to get the recommended amount of sugar, like fruits, for example.
- Check out labels. Sugar can hide in some surprising places such as yogurt and cereal. Read the labels and know what you’re buying.
- Remove sugary drinks. Soda is the obvious one, but teas, flavored waters, and sports drinks can also pack a sugary punch. Stick to water.
- Cook at home. By making your own meals, you’re in control of what ingredients you include.
- Choose unsweetened. Satisfy cravings for treats by selecting unsweetened versions of common baked goods.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your family’s diet can do a lot to protect oral and overall health. We know it may be challenging, but we know you can do it! Remember, diet is only part of what makes smiles and bodies happy. Always keep appointments with your child’s Long Island pediatric dentist at least twice a year (same goes for you too!).