Sugar and Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 1/22/2018 3:46 PM

Last week we talked about how sugar affects your teeth, which is probably commonly considered. Candy, soda and other sweets often trigger fears of cavities. But what’s less likely to be considered is how sugar can be harmful to your eyes.  How are they connected? One way sugar and our eyes are connected is through blood sugar levels. Since we have blood vessels in our eyes, the amount of sugar we consume that goes into our blood can affect our vision. As explained on AllAboutVision.com, “Fluctuating blood sugars are known to cause fluctuating vision.”  There is a connection between blood sugar levels and the lens in your eye being able to maintain focus. According to BostonSight, “sugar consumption is linked to a number of serious eye health conditions.” One example provided was from a study that found limiting sugar can reduce the risk or the advancement of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can cause you to lose your vision. As discussed in an article on WebMD, it’s better to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index and that won’t make your blood sugar levels spike quickly. Cataracts are another eye condition that research has linked to sugar intake. High amounts of sugar in your blood can cause the lens in your eyes to swell. According to the American Optometric Association, this may increase your risk of developing cataracts. Excessive pressure in your eye can lead to glaucoma, another serious eye disease. High blood sugar can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to create a buildup of fluid. This fluid can create that excessive pressure. Diabetes and eye disease If you have diabetes, there are other diseases you’re at risk of developing - diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Talking with your eye doctor to learn more and going for a comprehensive eye exam regularly can detect some of these conditions early.  Though it may seem common knowledge to watch your sugar intake because of the negative effects it can have on your health, it’s important to consider all the ways it can impact your health – including your eyes and vision.

Sugar and Your Teeth

by MikeMeehan 1/15/2018 10:47 AM

When you reach for a cookie or a piece of candy and you place that sugar-filled food in your mouth, you might only think about how wonderful and delicious it tastes. Now I’m going to challenge you to think of it from a different perspective. Here’s what happens to your teeth when that sugar enters your mouth. Bacteria in your mouth There’s good bacteria and bad bacteria in your mouth. The harmful bacteria uses the sugar from the cookie or piece of candy to create acid. Acid hurts your enamel The acid that was just formed from the bacteria and sugar in your mouth will now work to destroy the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is like a protective coating on your teeth. But the acid removes important minerals on your enamel, and eventually causes it to weaken and form a hole in your tooth, also known as a cavity. A cavity forms With the destroyed enamel and hole in your tooth caused by the acid, that cavity can actually continue to spread into the deeper layers of your tooth. This is when you will feel pain or sensitivity. Reverse the damage Even though this process is happening when you eat sugar, there are other things going on in your mouth to fight against a cavity. Saliva is working hard to repair your teeth through a process called remineralization. The minerals in your saliva, calcium and phosphate, help to replace the minerals attacked by the acid. Fluoride in your water or in your toothpaste do the same thing to help your enamel. Other steps to take Besides cutting back on sugary foods and beverages, there are other steps you can take. If you’re eating sweets, try to do so during a meal. Avoid sticky foods because they will stick to your teeth and that gives them more time and opportunity to do damage. Sticky foods include starchy foods like crackers and chips. Drinking and rinsing with water can help. Choices like cheese or other dairy foods have calcium and phosphates. Those minerals help your enamel, like described above. Also, chewing sugarless gum or eating fresh fruits and vegetables, like celery, increases saliva production. And, of course, there is our ever constant reminder to brush twice a day for two minutes to prevent cavities. We care about the health of your smile and sugar is a big deterrence from keeping your smile cavity-free. Remember what’s going on in your mouth when you chew on that candy bar!

3 Summertime Sweets Good for Your Smile

by MikeMeehan 6/30/2017 10:09 AM

Ah… summer. Time to relax and unwind. While you’re relaxing and enjoying the summer, remember to keep up your oral health routine. To help you do that, here are some summertime fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth so you can protect your smile while enjoying the sun. Although we may associate summer with ice cream, ice pops and s’mores, those summertime choices can increase the risk of tooth decay. Try satisfying your sweet craving with fruit instead. Not only does fruit provide overall health benefits, they have benefits for your smile, too. Strawberries and summer are a wonderful duo. These berries are filled with vitamin C, and vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen. Collagen helps maintain the strength of your gums and strong gums are important for keeping a healthy smile. Reducing plaque and removing the surface stains on your teeth are also on the to-do list of vitamin C. Remember strawberries are acidic, so drink plenty of water after your summer treat. You’ll be drinking the extra water in the summer heat anyway. Apples have a high water content and stimulate saliva production. Your saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth under control. Also, when you eat this low-acid, fibrous fruit, it scrubs the surface of your teeth. Apples, like strawberries, are called “dental detergents” for this reason. Watermelons, along with strawberries and just like apples, are a water-rich fruit. Along with their smile benefits, they are helping to keep you hydrated during the hot days of summer. Water helps remove particles of food in your mouth and stuck in your teeth, it washes away bacteria, and helps promote saliva production. All this helps increase the natural protection of tooth enamel. Watermelon also has that valuable vitamin C which helps to kill bacteria in your mouth and strengthen gum tissues. Having some strawberries and watermelon cut up and ready to eat in the fridge will make it easier for you and your family to make the choice of healthy fruit over other sweet snacks. Year round, the food you choose to eat can have an impact on your oral health. Consider these other food choices to maintain your healthy smile. Keep up the healthy routine The Delta Dental mobile app can also help you keep up your oral health routine. The app features a built in toothbrush timer, dentist search and access to your claims and coverage and ID cards—providing you access to dental resources whether you are away on summer vacation or at home. Download our mobile app from iTunes or Google Play by searching for “Delta Dental.” Remember to brush twice daily and if you do partake in the summer tradition of s’mores or other foods with cavity-causing sugar, drink lots of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, so imperative in the heat, but you will be washing away excess food particles that stick to your teeth.

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