It’s a New Year, which gives us the opportunity to make some changes and make different life choices. Whether you are looking to lose weight and become fit or dedicate more time to your dental health this year, cutting down on sugar will help you achieve both of these goals.

Sugar is bad for our teeth because it feeds harmful bacteria in our mouths that can cause a variety of dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease. Reducing the amount of sugar we consume can reduce the amount of damage caused by these bacteria, as well as improve our waistlines.

Here are 10 tips you can implement into your everyday life to minimize the amount of sugar you consume:

  • Sugar goes by many names, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, molasses, and corn syrup among others. Being able to recognise whether or not the products you buy contain sugar is the first step to avoiding sugar.
  • Do not start your day with a bowl of sugar, which is what most breakfast cereals are giving you. Try a lower sugar cereal or one with no added sugar. It is also important to not be adding extra sugar to your cereal in the morning.
  • Skipping breakfast is a big no-no as you will be more inclined to want a sugary snack to provide you with the energy to get you through the morning.
  • A big breakfast will help stop us from too much snacking before lunch. However, if you need a little something to keep you going before your lunch break, rather snack on a handful of nuts or another healthier alternative that will give you the energy boost you need.
  • When searching for healthy alternatives, do not be fooled by what is said on the packaging. Some fat free products still contain high levels of sugars in the form of fructose or refined sugar.
  • Besides what you eat, how you eat certain foods is also important. When you mash up fruit or eat dried fruit, it is easier for the sugars in the fruit to be released and cover your teeth. A fruit smoothie or prunes are sticky, and are able to get stuck between your teeth, as well as create a sugary film over your teeth that will feed harmful bacteria. Therefore, eating fresh fruit whole helps to avoid this problem.
  • It is not just what you eat, but also how often you consume sugary foods that has an impact on our dental health. It takes an hour for our mouth to return to a neutral state after eating or drinking. Everytime we snack that time starts again. Give your mouth a break by sticking to eating and drinking at mealtimes, and minimising on snacking.
  • Alcoholic drinks contain sugar, and although some alcohols contain less sugar than others, it is always best to drink water while you enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Drinking water will help wash away some of the sugar that accumulates in the mouth and might help prevent a hangover the next day.
  • It can be too easy to add extra whipped cream or order an exotic latte when getting your morning coffee. Stick to an Americano or espresso for your caffeine fix and only indulge your sweet tooth during a meal time.
  • We understand that it is difficult to avoid sugar altogether and that sometimes we need something sweet. When you have to give into the urge, try to limit yourself. Only have two squares of chocolate instead of a whole bar. You can also set up some personal dietary guidelines, such as only having dessert twice a week or not eating an hour before you go to bed.