Is Your Breakfast Helping Or Harming Your Oral Health?

February 4, 2023

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If that’s true, does it really matter what we eat, or does it just matter that we eat? Doctors, dieticians, dentists, and other health experts will tell you that what you eat for breakfast matters. You can’t have donuts and a caramel macchiato for breakfast most mornings and expect it not to affect your oral and overall health!

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume less than 25 grams of sugar per day, and men should eat no more than 36 grams of sugar per day. Unfortunately, many Americans eat close to 20 grams of sugar for breakfast every morning.

Common Breakfast Items and Their Sugar Contents

Let’s take a look at some of the most common breakfast foods in the American diet and how much sugar each one contains:

  • Yogurt parfait, 49g
  • Cinnamon roll, 41g
  • Muffin, 38g
  • Donut, 24g
  • Cereal with milk, 18g
  • Caramel Macchiato, 33g
  • Vanilla Latte, 35g

Refined vs Natural Sugar

It’s important to remember that most of these foods and beverages contain refined sugar, which is linked to numerous overall health issues, including heart disease. This is different than natural sugars found in milk, milk products, and fruit. Natural sugars don’t necessarily have the same effect on oral and overall health, but should still be limited.

Names of Refined Sugars

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Maltose
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Corn syrup
  • Carob powder
  • Evaporated can juice
  • Rice syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Fruit juice concentrate

Names of Natural Sugars

  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses

How Sugar Affects Oral Health

The truth is, sugar isn’t fully to blame for harming your oral health. The mouth is home to 700 different species of bacteria. Many of these are beneficial for your teeth and gums, but others are harmful.

In a healthy mouth, there are more good bacteria than bad. However, the bad bacteria take over when a person doesn’t brush and floss regularly, when they use tobacco products, or when they consume too much sugar.

Too much sugar for breakfast can lead to these oral health issues:

  • Cavities: When we consume sugar, the harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acid that weakens dental enamel. This, of course, leaves the teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
  • Gum disease: Sugar attracts the same bacteria that causes periodontal disease. The disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and the bacteria eat away at the tissues that hold the teeth in place.
  • Bad breath: Halitosis, or persistent bad breath, may be caused by too much sugar intake. Sugar interacts with the bad bacteria, creating a sour smell.
  • Chips and cracks: Weakened tooth enamel means the teeth are more likely to crack or break when a person is eating hard or crunchy foods

Healthy, Low-Sugar Breakfast Options

Ready to improve your oral and overall health? A healthy, low-sugar breakfast can provide the energy and nutrients you need to feel and do your best.

Here are some great low-sugar breakfast options to keep your mouth healthy:


Smoothies are a delicious and convenient way to satisfy a sweet tooth while consuming lots of fruits and veggies. Choose one or two fruits, spinach or kale, and milk, blend, and you’re ready to go!

To make the smoothie more satisfying, add a sugar-free nut butter or your favorite protein powder or collagen powder.


Omelets are another way to incorporate veggies into your diet. Scramble up two eggs, then add a few vegetables, meat, and cheese, fold over when ready, and enjoy a healthy meal that should keep you full for hours. If you need some sweetness, eat a piece of fruit with it!

Avocado Toast

Today, you can find some version of avocado toast on almost any breakfast menu at a coffee shop or restaurant near you. But did you know that it is just as easy to make at home? All you really need is an avocado, bread, and salt, but if you want to make things more exciting, you can add all kinds of other ingredients.

Breakfast Sandwich

It’s a classic for a reason. Breakfast sandwiches are low in sugar and high in protein with four simple ingredients: bread, egg, meat, and cheese. You can even make enough breakfast sandwiches for the week, freeze them, and reheat one each morning to save time.

More Oral Health Tips

If you want to continue to improve your oral health, you need personalized tips from our trusted practice. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment so we can help you achieve optimal oral health.

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