April is Oral Health Month, and Albertans are encouraged to limit added sugars to prevent tooth decay and protect overall health.
Added sugars are found in processed foods and drinks and also used to preserve foods. Sugar can be added for taste, texture and colouring, but has no nutritional value. Choosing too many foods and drinks with added sugar can increase your risk for tooth decay, and contribute to other diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
According to Health Canada, drinks such as pop, sport, energy and fruit-flavoured drinks, along with sweetened milk and coffees, are the main sources of sugars in our diets. Other foods high in sugar are sweetened baked goods and desserts, chocolate and candy, and condiments such as ketchup and jam.
Here are some practical tips to help you limit sugar for healthy teeth and overall health:
- Limit the amount of sugar you add to foods and drinks during preparation or at the table.
- Drink water and plain milk most often and reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.
- Choose fruits and vegetables in their natural form for a healthy snack.
- Learn to identify sugar on a product ingredient list. Words ending in “ose,” such as sucrose, or words such as syrups, honey, molasses, fruit juice and puree concentrate are sugars. When they appear at the beginning of the list, the food is higher in sugar.
Albertans are also encouraged to attend regular dental visits. A dentist provides the best recommendations for your oral health needs. The Canadian Dental Association recommends children see a dentist within six months of showing their first tooth or by their first birthday.
Learn more about oral health by visiting ahs.ca/oralhealth
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
Information provided by Alberta Health Services