Hidden Sugars in Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

We often consider foods that are marketed as "low-fat" and "diet" as healthier alternatives, but these foods often contain extra sugar to improve their taste and to compensate for fat in terms of texture. Bottled pasta sauces and pre-made soups are also a red flag for hidden sugar.


The new World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we reduce our daily intake of free sugars* to less than 10% of our total caloric intake. Have no fear; there are ways to make sure you always win when it comes to playing "hide and seek" with hidden sugars.

Check the Label

While you're looking to see how much sugar is your food, check the label for "carbohydrates as sugars" as well. These are the sworn enemies of decay-free teeth. Well, maybe not. But checking the ingredients for anything that ends in "-ose" (such as glucose, sucrose, etc.) is wise for spotting hidden sugars.

Cut Back on the Sweet Stuff

Simply making a few adjustments to your daily diet can help you cut back on the super sweet stuff. Limit the amount of sugar you add to your favorite drinks, like coffee and tea. Don't fall for the "sugar-free" foods. Balance your carbohydrate intake with plenty of lean proteins and vegetables. Substitute white bread and rice for whole grain or brown versions. When the sweet tooth cravings strike, reach for a piece of fruit or some plain yogurt. Your teeth will thank you.

Safe Substitute Sugars

Some sugar substitutes like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol occur naturally in small amounts in plants and fruits. They are also commonly used in low-calorie products to provide the necessary sweetness without the added calories.


*Per WHO, free sugars refer to any added sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, or table sugar and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

What role does sugar play in tooth decay?

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