If you are like a lot of people who have a *sweet tooth*, you probably think about apple pies, lamingtons, cupcakes with icing, cheesecake and so much more. While treats such as these aren’t really *good* for your teeth, there is a way to satisfy your cravings for sweet foods.
There are a lot of treats out there that taste great but DON’T cover your teeth in the sugars that lead to plaque and tooth decay.
Sweets and Snacks Can be Consumed
- Apple Pie – fruit is actually better for your teeth than lots of other sweets because the bacteria in your mouth has its own *sweet tooth* too. Unfortunately, the bacteria produces acid and these acids are strong enough to bore little holes into your teeth and it’s these holes that can eventually become a cavity. While apple pie does contain sugar, there are other sweets that do more damage to your teeth than apple pie – caramel tarts and toffee apples have sugars that sit on your teeth longer than apple pie or biscuits do. When it comes to fruit however dried fruits can be just as bad for your teeth as a toffee because it sticks to the teeth. Fruit juices and smoothies are also seen as healthy treats, but the juicing releases sugars that are usually bound up in the fibre of the fruit – this makes juices harder on your teeth. You need to keep your fruit WHOLE and try and stay away from sticky desserts.
- Dates and Raisins – dried fruits aren’t that good for your teeth, but dates and raisins do offer some amazing benefits for your teeth. Dates are full of *fluorine* which is related to fluoride so it actually helps to repair those early stages of a cavity forming. If you make a date loaf or throw some dates into your carrot cake recipe you are doing yourself – and your teeth a favour! Raisins also add sweetness to everything you eat – from your oatmeal in the morning to your favourite raisin cookies. Grapes contain phytochemicals – these inhibit the growth of bacteria which prevents sticky foods from lingering. For you wine lovers out there – red wine can actually help prevent decay. Raisins have concentrated amounts of phytochemicals and are a great way to add a sweetness that’s still good for you. Dates and raisins both provide your body with amino acids, vitamins, fibre and minerals. Lollies can’t compete with that.
- Cake – if you can’t stay away from your favourite chocolate cake, but you are still worried about your teeth, use a sugar substitute instead. Sugar itself isn’t dangerous to your teeth, it’s the bacteria’s acid that is the problem. Make your cakes, just use a sugar substitute instead – you’ll still have that sweetness, but you’ll be putting your teeth in less danger.
Dental Care Tips If you Love Sweets and Snacks
If you really want to know the best secret weapon of all – it’s good oral hygiene – this means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, eating less sugar AND seeing your dentist regularly twice a year.
After eating any dessert rinse your mouth out properly to wash away any of the lingering sugars that bacteria will feed on. If you can brush your teeth instead – that’s even better. You don’t have to limit brushing your teeth to twice a day – if you brush after eating your sweets and satisfying that tooth of yours – you will be able to fight decay. While you might not *like* flossing – after your treat you need to make sure every *nook and cranny* in your mouth is sugar-free. When you don’t floss you are not cleaning about 40% of each tooth!
Visits to your dentist mean different things to different people and if you love your treats your teeth may need more frequent cleaning. Ask your dentist how often you need cleaning to keep your pearly whites healthy.
Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t mean you must give up dessert, there are many sugar-free options available – sugar-free candies, liquorice and even sugar-free marshmallow. There are plenty of ways you can still enjoy your sweets and not hurt your teeth.