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…

Salad

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?

Related: Invisalign in Dripping Springs.

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9 thoughts on “Cutting the sugar

  1. What!? This worries me a lot as I eat a lot of fruit – apples every single day (normally at least 3), bananas, berries… This seems so odd that that can really be the reason?? And how judgmental of your dentist! I haven’t been to a dentist in like four years I think as every time I went my teeth were fine…and then I moved and forgot to get a new dentist and I sort of just haven’t been back. This does worry me though as I know how important it is but I honestly have no complaints. Hmmm.
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Hanley parkrun and pre-Liverpool marathon recapMy Profile

    1. I think the sugars can affect you different depending on your genetics, like Lauren mentioned. Clearly mine aren’t the best. :(
      I am hoping to make regular check ups again as it has really worried me, but I don’t want to cut my fruit allowance. Plain porridge this week in the aftermath of the dentist trip has been rather boring. :(

  2. I’m really lucky in that I’ve never had to have any dental work at all, and I go for regular check ups and everything is always good. I’ve always taken good care of my teeth, and I never ate a lot of sugar or drunk fizzy drinks or squash etc as a kid. That said I eat the most ridiculous amount of fruit and dried fruit and always have done, and it’s never caused me any issues. I’ve heard dentists make the link before between fruit and oral health, and I just think it’s misguided, I think perhaps genetics plays a part, and demonizing fruit is not the way to go, as people will then miss out on all the benefits.
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) recently posted…Ultra Training Highs and LowsMy Profile

    1. When I was younger I wasn’t the best at taking care of my teeth, but I shall definitely ensure that any children I have in the future do. We never had squash as children either and although I will drink it at a push now I much prefer water and find that squash tastes sickly sweet and almost synthetic.
      I don’t want to skip my fruit. I much prefer fresh fruit to dried and I know that fresh is better for teeth. I’m going to be grown up and have a conversation with my dentist when I go back next week to see what he suggests.

  3. That sounds so horrible- if that was me I would not go back there! I have not had any fillings, but when I was younger I had that coating painted onto my molars because I think I have thin enamel or something- it was a preventative thing.
    I thought also that cleaning your teeth right after eating (especially sugary things) was also bad because it brushes the bad stuff right into your teeth- the saliva neutralises the acids that attack teeth- so having water after eating helps to produce more and to wash bits away if that makes sense?
    I can understand why dried fruit it not good, as it’s sticky and would stick to teeth, but I am sure I have read that things like apples are good for your teeth because of their crunchy nature. But who knows where I remembered that from!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…St Albans Half 2015- for the love of an ice lollyMy Profile

    1. I’d never heard that before about not cleaning your teeth right after you had eaten. I’m glad you said that otherwise that would have been one of the steps I would have taken to try and improve things. I do tend to drink a lot of water throughout the day anyway, and always after eating as I like my mouth to feel clean after food, so hopefully I am doing the right thing by doing so.
      I’m not a huge fan of dried fruit and much prefer fresh fruit. I haven’t given it up at the moment but am keeping a little log to take to my dentist next week to show him my habits and see what he says.

  4. My smoothies were to blame when I last went to the hygenist, she told me that is what is causing my teeth to lose enamel on my front teeth, too much sugar from fruit. I had the same reaction as you when she said too much sugar. I hate fizzy drinks and don’t drink fruit juice unless I’m on holiday somewhere with great fresh fruitjuice. Shocked to hear that the sugar in the fruit I was eating was making me teeth suffer.
    Be interesting to know how much sugar you’re taking in, I might have to test it myself.
    x
    Emma recently posted…Time to go it alone…and I’m terrifiedMy Profile

    1. I’m hoping to get the post up at the weekend about my sugar intake. I’ve had a really busy week at work this week so haven’t had a chance to make, photograph, eat, analyse and blog all in one yet! I did find it interesting to look at the data last time I did though and it made me think twice what exactly was in each part of my meals.

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