First of all, if you’ve turned over a new leaf and given up refined sugar, congratulations! Good for you. In today’s world of fast food and pre-prepared, convenience foods, avoiding sugars can be difficult. As a matter of fact, they can almost be hidden. Reading food labels, getting an education on the ingredients typically added to foods and brushing regularly have never been more important.
Dentists know that sweet, sticky foods can cause cavities because they are difficult to clear off the tooth surfaces. But simply avoiding sugary foods alone won’t solve the problem. Studies have shown that raisins are rapidly cleared from the surface of the teeth, just like apples and bananas. So why might it not be safe to eat raisin bran or other cereals with added fruit?
Cereals with added fruits are just one of many examples of foods that may contain added sugars. And this is one that many people would guess at. There are other foods that it may shock many to learn have hidden sugars added. High fructose corn syrup is added to peanuts to help the oil adhere to the nut! Keep an eye out for the ones listed below and remember to always brush after eating.
Check your pasta sauce. Many brands of pasta sauce include hidden sugars because manufacturers often add them to help preserve their shelf life. Read all the ingredient list on any pasta sauce to see if it has added sugar that you may not be aware of. The ingredient list may include sugar, but it can also list other types of sugars in the form of sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose or glucose syrup.
Many brands and types of canned vegetables contain hidden sugars that are used during the manufacturing process to make their shelf life longer, as well. If you enjoy the taste of sweetened vegetables, make sure to read the ingredient list carefully to determine which brands add the least amount of sugar because they will be the healthiest options for you and your teeth.
It is obvious that some breads, such as cinnamon raisin or banana, have added sugar in them. Many whole wheat breads that consumers may consider healthy choices can have just as much hidden sugar as sweetened breads do. Some breads can contain 1 or 2 tsp. of sugar per slice. Read the labels closely to find a brand that is low in sugar.
Just as canned vegetables have added sugar to prolong their shelf life, many brands and varieties of canned soups do also. Some flavors of canned soups can contain several teaspoons per serving. Read the labels to find out whether your favorite soups have hidden sugars that you were not aware of.
Always stay conscious of what you’re eating, read labels and brush your teeth regularly. It’s more important than ever to see your dentist for regular checks and cleanings. Hidden ingredients in convenience foods and hectic lifestyles can lead to poor dental hygiene which can cause more trouble down the road. Develop a healthy relationship with a dentist who will know your dental history and habits.