Published in April 2021.
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High fructose corn syrup or HFCS is a refined syrup, made from corn and used for both its sweetness and ability to extend the shelf life of food products. it is a staple in most foods these days, it has been associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and fat accumulation. Although if that isn’t enough incentive to cut HFCS out of your diet, it is also a major cause of cavities and tooth decay.
What foods have HFCS?
Of course there are the typical foods that everyone thinks of, including soda, candy and ice cream, but did you know that there are a lot more than sweets that contain HFCS. Things like bread, salad dressing, granola bars, and even breakfast cereals. Staple foods that appear to be healthy are also saturated with HFCS. We’re not saying to cut these foods out completely but it’s better for you and your teeth to start looking at the nutrition labels!
How does HFCS cause tooth decay?
Fructose is a simple sugar, and sugar is essential for bacterial growth. When sugar including fructose is available in your mouth, bacteria releases acids that damage your enamel. Although, perhaps on a more serious note, because high fructose levels cause a spike in blood sugar levels, your body ends up pulling minerals from other sources to maintain some sort of balance in the body. These minerals usually come from your bones and your teeth, weakening them even further. It’s important to know that cavities and tooth decay can happen even without explicit sugar consumption, but that’s why we here at Sandhurst family dental want to educate our patients.
What can we do to minimize HFCS?
It’s hard to minimize fructose when it’s present everywhere, you can’t even drink a coffee without your creamer having HFCS. The simple solution would be to cut out HFCS completely, but until that time comes, we have a couple of other recommendations. The first of them being to brush your teeth twice a day. We get how busy people can get, but brushing twice daily is necessary, it clears plaque before it has a chance to harden, and that actually leads to our next point. Flossing! So many people skip flossing but what they don’t realize is that they are completely missing the sides of their teeth. Most toothbrushes can’t get into the spaces between teeth, flossing is the best way to clean these places, and with how much HFCS is present in our diets it’s no wonder cavities manage to sneak up on us. The third suggestion would be to minimize HFCS. It might be hard to cut out things like bread or even creamer for all the double double fans, but maybe minimizing pop and ice cream might be a good place to start… believe us dentists when we say that your body and more importantly your teeth will thank you!