The general definition of sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which encompasses glucose, sucrose, fructose and lactose, to name a few. When the majority of people use the term sugar, most often they are referring to sucrose or table sugar. Studies have shown that frequent consumption of sucrose increases the risk for developing tooth decay. People often question the effects other forms of sugar, such as honey or fructose found in fruits. The sugar found in these foods is predominantly fructose and while this is still fermentable by bacteria, it is a non-processed carbohydrate and is therefore less susceptible to bacterial digestion. Sucrose, however, is byproduct chemical that is easily digested by the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, most of the foods that contain large amounts of sucrose are generally sticky, and easily get stuck on and between the teeth, providing plenty of food for the oral bacteria to grow and wreak havoc. The obvious sources of sucrose are candy and soda, but sucrose can be found in almost any food that has undergone processing, which is why it is so important to pay attention to food labels and ingredient lists when grocery shopping. Of course, the easiest way to avoid food loaded with sucrose is to choose whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and unprocessed grains and legumes. For more questions about avoiding sucrose, ask our registered dietitian, Nasira: [email protected]