Cutting the sugar

On Monday I took a visit to my dentist.

When I was younger I had yearly (free!) checkups where I frantically scrubbed my teeth the day before – trying desperately to make up for all those times I had forgotten to brush my teeth before going to bed.  Most of the time I lucked out and my teeth needed no urgent treatment, but now and again a filling was required.

As a paying adult, who eats fairly healthily the majority of the time and who now always brushes their teeth on a daily basis, I have since only visited the dentist in emergencies – when I have lost a filling or have been feeling pain from a certain tooth.

Until yesterday it had been more than two years since I last visited.  That visit was down to a car journey when I had been chewing some gum (unusual for me) and my filling had got caught on the gum and popped right back out on the gum.  Luckily it didn’t cause me any pain, and I could enjoy the uni reunion I was attending the rest of the weekend, without downing paracetamol and sipping water tentatively through a straw.

After a quick probe in my mouth on Monday, my dentist informed me that I required two fillings.  I was rather upset to hear this.  I already have a couple of fillings and the thought of having a mouth full of silver, or worse – false teeth(!) – worries me.  Ladies in their thirties don’t have false teeth do they?!  At least, none I know do!  (Luckily, I don’t think I am quite to the false teeth stage yet.)

My dentist told me that it appeared I had a sweet tooth and ate too much sugar.  He assumed that I ate lots of biscuits and cakes – I told him that I did not (perhaps one slice of cake a week on average?), so he questioned me over my fizzy drink consumption.  I do not like fizzy drinks.

I’d had a long day at work and his hands were still in my mouth but I tried to articulate that I was a runner and the majority of the sweet stuff I ate was whilst running, or just afterwards – purely to get a boost of energy whilst on a run.  I then felt like my dentist was accusing me of a poor diet when he started ranting about the use of sports drinks and how long it can be afterwards until teeth are cleaned after eating whilst on a run.

He actually made me feel rather uncomfortable, sat in his chair, judging the food that I eat.
I feel that I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle – I avoid sugary breakfast cereals and tend to stick to porridge or eggs, I have salad almost every day for lunch and I home cook at least 5 out of my 7 dinners each week.  Dan and I don’t have dessert unless we go out for dinner and although we might pick up a cake from the bakery at the weekend I don’t eat biscuits, a huge amount of chocolate or even like fizzy drinks – the main culprits I was accused of consuming.

What I do enjoy though is a sliced kiwi on my porridge most mornings…

Porridge with kiwi fruitI always pick up some fruit as a snack for mid-morning…

Strawberries and blueberriesMy salads at lunchtime tend to also include some fruit such as tangerines…


And my main fuel for running consists of nakd bars (filled with dates as a natural sugar) and oranges…

Nakd bars in a boxAlthough classed as healthy sugars, fruit still damages teeth and I feel that I need to adapt my diet slightly to incorporate more vegetables to replace the fruit I currently eat.  Not sure I fancy topping my porridge with some broccoli in the mornings just yet though!

A couple of years ago, when I first started writing the blog I kept track of my sugar intake for the day.  At the time I thought I lived relatively healthily (hot dogs for dinner and sugary cereal for breakfast!)  I know my diet has improved a lot since then and I am interested to take a look at how much sugar I am consuming now vs two years ago.

Because I felt so uncomfortable talking to my dentist after his runners rant, rather than ask for advice from the dentist I booked in my fillings for a fortnight on Thursday, went home, panicked a little, spoke to my Mum about it (her response was “You eat less sweet things than your Dad.” – my Dad has false teeth – this didn’t help my false teeth panic!), decided to eat nothing that I couldn’t suck straight down my throat from a straw, calmed down, had a look on Google (all the answers are on Google!) and then decided to make an action plan for the coming weeks.

Improving my dental health phase one: Minimise fruit intake and track my sugar consumption – one day this week.
Improving my dental health phase two: Establish and make note of some good habits regarding dental care – one day this week AFTER phase one.

Do you feel that you take care of your teeth well?
How many fillings have you had?
How much fruit do you eat each day?
Do you drink many fizzy drinks?