Have a craving for something sweet? While we all want something sweet at some point, it can become a problem for your oral health if you consume too much sugar.
Eating or drinking sugar causes just the right environment in the mouth for decay and cavities to form. Whether it’s sugar in a soft drink, candy, or cake, the sugars we consume feed the bacteria that live in our mouths. The bacteria combined with the sugar creates an acid that dissolves the enamel of teeth, which leads to decay.
So how can you satisfy your sweet tooth while still keeping your mouth healthy? There are lots of options that can keep that sweet craving away!
- Fresh Fruit: When you’re feeling a need for sweets, grab an orange, pear, melon or any fresh fruit instead! Fresh fruit provides the right texture and naturally-sweet taste to satisfy your craving.
- Plum Perfect: For a pick-me-up that lacks the sugar, reach for prunes! This naturally sweet alternative, also known as dried plums, is low in calories and comes in convenient packs that stay fresh. The perfect anti-sugar solution.
- Try the Tea: There are many tea flavors and options available now that offer your taste buds the flavor of something interesting without the sugar. Read tea packages for ingredients and look for orange, raspberry, and cinnamon for a tasty tea alternative.
- Berry Good: A cup of fresh berries may be all your body needs to curb the sugar craving! Try raspberries, blueberries or strawberries or mix them together for a twist on flavor. Berries, like other fruits, can also fill you up to keep the cravings at bay!
- Savor Savory: One trick to try in knocking away a sweet tooth craving is shocking your palate with something savory! Consider trying a probiotic juice drink or tomato juice to get your mouth off the need for sweet and, instead, enjoying the flavors of savory (and all the nutrients that go with it)!
- Opt for Veggies: Sweet-tasting goodness is available in a number of vegetables. Try sweet potatoes, carrots or butternut squash when you’re warding off a sweet tooth. Naturally sweet, these vegetables can be roasted or baked and offer both nutrients and fiber.
- Ice Creamy Goodness: Most store-bought ice creams are full of sugar and fats. Why not make your own? Many recipes exist using naturally sweet bananas, mango, and cottage cheese for a creamy ice cream substitute. Top this treat off with a sprinkle of almonds or unsweetened coconut!
- Peanut Butter: Sometimes all you need is a smear of creamy peanut butter to keep those sugar cravings away! Check the label for low- and no-sugar options to keep your teeth healthy. You can make and freeze small peanut butter balls or have them on no-sugar crackers or crunchy rice cakes.
- Crazy for Coconut: Did you know that natural coconut is low in sugar but delivers a sweet flavor? Look for unsweetened coconut chips for a snack alternative, sprinkle on oatmeal or add coconut milk to your coffee!
- Let’s Go Greek: Sometimes, in addition to a desire for something sweet, we also want something creamy. In times like these, go for Greek yogurt in a small cup parfait! Alternating plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with your favorite fresh fruit, almonds, or coconut chips give a delicious-tasting alternative to a sugar-filled dessert!
In addition to warding off that sweet craving, practice good oral health habits to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Brushing and flossing every day and after meals is a quick and easy way to keep sugar out of your mouth and decay at bay!