Ask the dentist: Do a Ronaldo and tackle your sugar intake

Cutting sugar is vital for your general health as well as your teeth, says Lucy Stock of Gental Dental Care in Belfast

A spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down, but also causes damage to our teeth
Lucy Stock

STERILE high fives to Ronaldo for removing the Coke during an interview last month. He's such a role model for people everywhere in terms of fitness, focus and healthy eating.

Every day, dentists see the utter devastation that sugar causes in the mouth, from tooth decay to gum disease.

I often look at a cavity in the mouth and think if that's what sugar can do to the hardest substance in the body, what effect is it having on all the other bits?

We actually do see the other bodily effects when reading a patient's medical history - some of which are peppered with medications that are taken due to the indirect results of poor lifestyle habits and overconsumption of sugar.

If nothing is done to improve habits and reduce The White One then the body gets sicker, the number of medications skyrocket, and the mouth slips furthermore into the abyss of unhealthiness.

It's easier to sit in a state of status quo, and continue to up the meds and eat what we have always done. But by making a few changes to your diet, you can turn around not only your dental health but also your general health, improving your sleep and energy levels.

Try starting with two changes that you believe you can stick to.

Take a leaf from Ronaldo's book and swap the fizzy drinks, smoothies and sugar-packed hot drinks for water. If you really feel that you can't go completely hardcore drinking plain water, then you could add some fresh mint to give some flavour. Be mindful of adding lemon or other citrus fruits as this will make the water acidic which dissolves the teeth away (sorry, I know I am the party pooper...).

For chocolate lovers - and I include myself - there is a better alternative than the normal chocolate bars. Cacao nibs are the least processed chocolate on the market; they are quite bitter so it may take a bit of adjustment to the new taste.

On the plus side, where a normal bar of chocolate would contain between 2-5 teaspoons of sugar, the same amount of cocoa nibs has less than half a teaspoon.

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