You've probably heard from your parents and your dentist for a long time that sugar isn't the healthiest ingredient for your teeth. If you're interested in cutting back on your sugar intake, you might be overwhelmed by how much sugar is actually in the foods that you eat. To start, you need to educate yourself about how much sugar you're already eating, and then you can make some simple changes.

Read Labels Carefully

When you first decide to cut back on sugar, you have to start being diligent about reading labels. Sugar is in our daily foods under many different names besides "sugar." WebMD recommends looking for words that end in the suffix –ose. These indicate that the ingredient is a type of sugar. You should also watch for other types of sweeteners, including honey, molasses, and corn syrup, because these all contain sugars that can affect your teeth.

Substitute Healthier Options

Instead of sugary cakes and candies, stock up on healthier snacks like fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and breads made with whole grains are a better option than less healthy choices, such as white bread. Kids in particular may be resistant to dietary changes, so start slowly by replacing a few foods at a time. You can gradually introduce healthier options as your kids become more accustomed to the changes.

Saliva Helps

The American Dental Association recommends that you opt for meals whenever possible rather than snacks. The reason for this is that as you eat a full meal, your mouth produces more saliva, which helps to rinse your mouth as you eat. This also lessens the likelihood that sugar and other food ingredients stick around to feed the bacteria in your mouth.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is the drink that your doctor and your dentist are most likely to recommend for you. It's good for your body and it also helps to keep your teeth rinsed and in better condition. If you're not someone who enjoys drinking water, try replacing just one soda or sugary drink with a glass of water. As you get used to getting more water, your body will start to crave it and the taste will become more appealing.

If you need help determining what else will help your teeth to be healthier, talk to an expert in family dental care, like Brant N Olson, DDS PA., today. You'll learn specific steps to take to make your mouth as healthy as it can be.