Bowl of popcorn

Five smart sugar swaps for a healthy smile

Sugar appears in lots of different foods, even ones that seem harmless or that are labelled as a healthy choice. Foods that have hidden sugar content can potentially damage your teeth if you eat a lot of them.

The good news is that small changes made now can protect your teeth from decay. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t snack too much throughout the day. Try and limit yourself to three meals and two snack times daily. This helps to reduce the frequency that your teeth are attacked by sugar and acid each day.

If you’re looking to cut down the amount of sugar in your diet, here are five smart sugar swaps for a healthy smile.

Popcorn being poured into a bowl

1. Start the day with a swap

There’s a reason breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, so try to choose healthier options over sugary cereals.

Porridge contains just 1g of sugar in a 30g serving (instead of the 30g you find in the average bowl of sugar-coated cereal), and it’s full of B-vitamins, fibre and slow-release energy.

Perfect for setting you up for the day ahead. To add some natural sweetness, why not include some banana mixed up with the porridge?

Large bowl of plain porridge with blueberries in background

2. The healthy way to stay hydrated

Fizzy drinks are packed with sugar – a can of cola can have up to 35g in it. But did you know smoothies can be nearly as bad? Some shop-bought smoothies contain 25g of sugar in a 250ml bottle, so they’re not the healthiest option for a quick drink

Instead, try and make your own with some frozen berries and a splash of milk– that way you can keep an eye on just how much sugar goes into your smoothie. And remember, you can’t go wrong with a nice glass of water!

Tangerine segments dipped in dark chocolate

3. Swap those afternoon snacks

It can be tempting to crack open some sugary snacks for that post-lunch energy boost. With a bit of thought though, you can beat the afternoon sugar high. Start with a selection of dried fruit and low-sugar cereal and get creative. Or you could try these ideas:

Swap a packet of crisps for some tasty cubes of cheese

Swap a chocolate bar for some delicious dark chocolate-dipped tangerine segments

Swap a cookie for a homemade nutty granola bar

Banana and peanut butter sandwiches

4. Sugar-less evening snacks

Hungry after a long day? Aim to stock up on healthy snacks to keep you going until dinner. Need a bit of inspiration?

Try some of these low-sugar snack swaps:

  1. • Swap a muffin for a freshly toasted fruit teacake
  2. • Swap a packet of crisps for a bag of freshly popped plain or salted popcorn
  3. • Swap a chocolate biscuit for a rice cake with a dollop of sugar-free Greek yoghurt
Large bowl of frozen fruit dusted in ice

5. Keep dessert sweet with less sugar

Make desserts work harder and give yourself a healthy treat that’s packed with vitamins.

Try swapping a bowl of ice-cream for some frozen yoghurt, top it with chopped banana and peanut butter and you’re good to go. All the flavour, but with less of the sugar, and it’s one of your five-a-day!

6. Regular trips to the dentist

Don't forget that as well as eating a healthy, balanced diet and reducing your sugar intake, you should also visit the dentist and hygienist regularly. Regular trips to the dentist help to identify potential issues, before they turn into dental disasters, and hygiene appointments will help keep your mouth clean and healthy

Find your local Bupa Dental Care practice

If you’d like to book an appointment with a Bupa dentist for a check-up, or any other service, search for your local practice below and get in touch.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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