The FDA released new guidelines for Nutrition Facts labels earlier this week. Along with bolding and modifying how calories are calculated, adding the declaration of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, there is one change is making major headlines. That is the addition of labels quantifying the amount of added sugar.
According to Yale Health, Americans consume up to 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day, they even estimate that teens consume up to 34 teaspoons. Considering that a 12 oz. soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, this is not surprising. Yet, it is still more sugar than any one person should consume in a day. It’s not just the sugars in soda that the FDA wants consumers to be aware of though, it’s also the sugars in items you may not have known were made with sugar in the first place like crackers and canned soups.
As your trusted Melbourne Dental office, we’ve been extolling the importance of monitoring the sugar you consume for the health of your teeth for years. It is well known that sugar is the culprit behind tooth decay and a factor in developing periodontal disease. By consuming less sugar, you are able to keep it away from your precious oral tissues and help prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that cause decay and disease. It is hoped that the update in nutrition facts will inspire Americans to make healthier decisions. By consuming less sugar and being more informed of the calories per serving size, we can predict a healthier country. However as dentists, we can’t wait to see the change this makes in our patients mouths.
It is no secret that sugar is the cause of tooth decay and gum disease. The 200 different species of bacteria that live in your mouth need food to do their job breaking down food and beginning the process of digestion. Sugar is a quick, easy fuel source for both harmful and beneficial bacteria. However if excess sugar is not removed from the teeth in a timely fashion, bad bacteria becomes acidic and forms plaque, tartar, and eventually leads to tooth decay and gum disease. This is why it is so important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once each night and remove this sugar.
Everyone knows that excess sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. For the most part, people following healthy diets avoid sugar-laden foods. They understand how harmful excess sugar can be. However, the American diet is full of hidden sugars. These are the sugars that the FDA wants everyone to be aware of.
Soda, candy bars, and ice cream all have one thing in common. They are chock-full of sugar and everyone knows it. Most people don’t know that the same could also be said about pasta sauce, yogurt, and salad dressings. Without reading nutrition facts most people would never know how much sugar is lurking in their salad. The FDA believes that the amount of added sugar people consume greatly affects their overall health. They say that it is, “Difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar.” This change in labeling will give everyone the opportunity to check how much of their caloric intake includes added sugars and adjust to how much they feel is OK for them. Hopefully this new revelation will also remind people how important it is to brush their teeth after a meal of spaghetti and a side salad, even if they skip the tiramisu.
Another way these new FDA guidelines will be able to help people with their healthy goals is by calling out the “health” foods that are little more than sugar-drinks. Smoothies and fruit juices are the main culprit in this sector of the grocery store. Smoothies are made from fruit, so many people feel like they’ve done something good when they choose the Strawberry Banan-o-rama smoothie over a soda at lunch time. However, fruit juices and smoothies can contain up to four teaspoons of sugar. When the American Heart Association recommends no more than five teaspoons of sugar per day, an “innocent” smoothie doesn’t look so innocent after all.
If you have questions about how to take care of your teeth with the revelation of how much sugar you’re consuming on a daily basis, contact your Melbourne Florida Dentist at Artistic Touch Dentistry. We can schedule you for a professional cleaning and remind you how important brushing and flossing every day is for your oral health.