At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we work to keep your mouth disease-free. The worst thing you can do for your teeth is to consume sugar. We all know the dangers of sugar consumption, and we have said it before, but it bears repeating—sugar can destroy your teeth. Here are some mental, emotional, and physical reactions you may experience when you finally decide to give up sugar:
Kicking the Habit
Sugar is in everything, it seems. If you spend time reading ingredient labels, you will find that almost all processed food contains sugar. You might see ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, fruit juices or even “all natural flavors,” but all of these are processed and refined sugar. It will take vigilance and commitment to quit your sugar habit. One of the best ways to beat the habit is to understand its effects on your body.
Sugar is notorious for causing weight gain. Some people feel they can add pounds just by glancing at the candy aisle. Sugar wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, causing a roller coaster of ups and downs, which can often be felt both physically and emotionally. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It produces a mental stupor and increases the effects of aging. Too much sugar can cause mood swings and is highly addictive.
We at Lifetime Family Dental know all too well that sugar will eventually cause tooth decay and gum disease. Not only is sugar acidic and damaging to tooth enamel; it also feeds the bacteria that hides in plaque and causes gingivitis.
Abstaining from refined sugar consumption is a tough decision to make, and will cause symptoms of withdrawal, but has many rewards in the long term. Here is generally what to expect over time when you decide you have had enough sugar:
Sugar activates a dopamine response in the reward center of the brain. It is as addictive as a drug because the brain craves more dopamine. As the dopamine wears off, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. As your blood sugar level drops, you may get irritable, moody and sad. You might have hot flashes, shakes, and sweats. The best way to fight these withdrawal symptoms is to eat fiber, fresh vegetables, healthy fats and protein.
The next day
You may wake up with a headache and feel “hungover.” You might feel sluggish throughout the day and feel like you are in a mental fog. You will probably have strong cravings for something sweet. These symptoms may persist for several days. Do your best to resist. Your body is actually healing itself from the inflammatory effects of sugar. In addition to feeding bacteria in your mouth, sugar feeds bacteria in your digestive tract. Candida, a fungal infection, also thrives with sugar intake. Eliminating sugar can keep these harmful microbes in check.
The next weeks
After a week or so after cutting out sugar from your diet, your cravings will lessen and your moods will stabilize. Your insulin levels will improve and your inflammatory responses will diminish dramatically. You might find you have less joint pain and muscle aches. Your skin will become clearer and you will probably see a noticeable difference in your appearance: less puffiness all around. Your body’s healing ability is accelerating now that sugar is no longer hindering it.
A month later
Your cravings for sweets won’t be nearly as strong by this point. You will have dropped a few pounds and you will have more energy. Yeast infections should be greatly diminished, and as your gut heals, you will have a stronger immune system to ward off illness.
After six months, many former sugar eaters actually become turned off to sugar The pounds you have lost (and continue to lose) will stay off. You will find yourself reaching for an apple instead of hunting for the chocolate you hid at the last holiday. And, best of all, you will be healthier. Your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease will be dramatically lower, and over time you will look and feel much younger.
A year later
You will thank yourself for kicking the sugar habit. And we will thank you, too! It is a lifestyle change that only brings benefits. Your next dental exam and oral checkup will show that your body has responded to its new landscape. The dangers of sugar consumption will no longer be a threat to your health. Lifetime Family Dental is here to cheer you on. Call us for a cleaning and exam. Remember: the battle is real, but you can overcome a sugar addiction.