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Fighting Back against a Genetic Sweet Tooth

June 25, 2017
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Posted By: Dr. Shohreh Shahram
Home Dental Care | Vienna VA

Do you have a sweet tooth and wonder if there’s anything you can do to curb it? If you find it impossible to pass up candy or other sweet treats, your genes may be to blame.

Our Vienna, VA dentists want you to be informed about news that affects your oral health. A study published recently in Cell Metabolism Journal set out to determine how cravings for sweets occurs at the cellular level. 

Of the 6,500 subjects tested in the study, researchers found that those who harbored a variant of a gene called FGF21 were about 20 percent more likely to enjoy and seek out sugary foods.

Don’t take this news as a license to consume sugary foods because “my genes made me do it!” Sugar is a death knell for healthy teeth. And yes, the strong desire for sugar may be built in, but you can make some dietary changes that may help curb the craving:

  • Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar
  • Boost your serotonin with a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep. Higher serotonin levels can calm your cravings for sweets.
  • Use zero-calorie sugar substitutes like Stevia to satisfy your sweet tooth naturally.
  • Keep your blood sugar stable. Eat small, healthy meals throughout the day to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.

Sugar that is left to sit on your teeth attracts harmful bacteria and create acids that destroy tooth enamel. So try to brush your teeth as soon as possible, or at least swish some water around in your mouth.

If you have a sweet tooth, it’s essential that you keep regularly scheduled exams and cleanings twice a year with your Vienna, VA dentist. Routine checkups allow us to find decay early, when it’s small and easy to treat. Professional dental cleanings ensure that your teeth are healthy and free of disease. 

Please call us if it's time to schedule your next exam!

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