Sugar Addiction

“Dear doctor,

I know how sugar is bad for your teeth, but I just CAN’T stop! I have had cavities, root canals, and have recently had a molar extracted from my bottom left. But nonetheless, I still keep eating sugary sweets, I cannot help myself. What do I do? Is there anyway to substitute sugar for anything? I have tried aspartame and all, but they taste gross and do not deliver at all, I have sugar cravings like right after I eat them. Also, is there some way to minimize the damage? Thank you,


Dear Stephanie,

First and foremost I have to congratulate you on your bravery. Admitting you have a problem is considered to be the first absolutely mandatory step you need to take in order to start treating the problem you have. As our society is such that it accepts addiction to sugar,and not to other things, admitting and seeing that you have a problem can be difficult. Unlike with alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs where counseling is available and there is a whole industry behind helping people with these problems, but there is noe for sugar, a sit is not considered to be a serious addiction, and granted, compared to problems like binge drinking or a heroin addiction, being addicted to sweet tastes does seem to pale. But it is still an addiction, and one that you need to get help with. Sugar has been shown to be a poison essentially, and it also has been shown to be addictive, and to affect the psyche.  


As far as I know, there is no Sweet Tooth Anonymous, nor will there be, but as you guessed it, there are several things to do that can help lessen the problems you are suffering from. First of all, try and not snack on sugary goods, this is the worst you can do. After each meal, and after sweets too, rinse your mouth out thoroughly, perhaps even sue some mouthwash. This will kill the bacteria that are generated by the carbohydrates you have just eaten, and will cleanse your mouth and reset the pH to a normal level.

There are also substitutes, like xylitol that taste good. Xylitol and fructose are sugars in the same way that sucrose, table sugar in other words, is. Xylitol is good in that it is not as bad for your teeth (you will still need to rinse), and does not cause diabetes. Glucose likewise is better for your teeth, and you can eat a lot more of it than sucrose before it starts becoming a problem, but it does eventually cause diabetes, albeit much later than sucrose.

But all of these are just substitutes, and your problem will still persist until you get help. I am not sure where to turn, but psychologists may be able to find out what is causing your addiction, and from then on, the long, hard and arduous process of kicking the habit can begin. I wish you the best of luck, as this is an important decision, and should not be taken lightly, regardléess of the way society handles sugar addiction.

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