It is no secret that sugar isn’t good for your teeth. Sugar can often be the cause of toothache, sensitivity, pain, and other symptoms of tooth decay. Even knowing this, it is still so difficult to avoid sugary snacks and beverages! To help you out, here is a list of 9 ways you can satisfy those sweet tooth cravings without going for options that can be rough on your teeth and gums. But before we get into the tasty treats, let’s look at a brief explanation of what really goes on when those sugars do battle with your teeth.
Sugars vs. Your Teeth
Sure, you know that sugar can damage your teeth and gums, but what’s really going on behind the scenes to cause that? Believe it or not, it’s not the sugar that’s totally responsible. It’s the series of reactions that happen after the sugars enter the fray that are to blame. There are bacteria that live in your mouth, and a select group of the harmful bacteria produce an acid when they come in contact with sugar. These acids eat away at the enamel on your teeth and cause cavities. If your enamel starts eroding there’s no reversing it; so if you experience discomfort, pain, or sensitivity in your teeth, a good dentist is your #1 option to get those cavities filled and stop the harmful decay.
Ok, now that you understand why the sugary foods are bad for your teeth, let’s get to the good stuff!
1. Vegetables Can Be Sweet?
I know what you’re thinking–there’s no way vegetables can be a substitute for sugary snacks, right? Well, actually, they can! Not only this, but if you include more sweet vegetables in your diet, you will naturally crave less sugar. Veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and beets are quite sweet! Many people will turn these vegetables into a juice or even eat them as is, but if you really want to bring that sweetness out, we recommend cooking them, so their natural flavor comes through even more.
Fruits are some of the most common substitutes for sugary junk foods, and for a good– reason! Fruits like bananas & dates are wonderful natural sweeteners that you can add to almost anything you want. Don’t overdo it, though. Some fruits are still high in sugar, but they are a great option when you want something sweet without going for processed and refined sugars.
3. Dark Chocolate
When craving something sweet, chocolate is one of the most commonly reported foods people go for. But before you grab those chocolates, consider having some dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is over 70% cocoa and contains compounds that can improve markers of heart health! There is still sugar in dark chocolate as well, so once again, it is best to limit how much you eat to satisfy your cravings.
4. Sugar-Free Gum
Many people find that chewing gum or mints can really help control the desire for sugary foods. They contain only a small number of calories and no sugar, as the name implies. And while they help you fight off the urge to go for dessert, chewing gum after a meal is also good for your teeth and helps the cleaning process that your body performs naturally.
Yogurt can be a great snack to help regulate appetite & the hunt for something to satisfy your sweet tooth. High in protein & calcium, yogurt makes a healthy snack that still tastes sweet even without added sugars!
6. Protein Curbs Your Impulses
Making sure you get a good amount of protein every day can significantly decrease your cravings and overall hunger throughout the day. Lots of sugary junk foods are usually devoured late at night when people are looking for that midnight snack. A study found that a high protein diet reduces food cravings and keeps you satisfied, so that you don’t get hungry in the middle of the night.
7. Sugar Free Sodas
Sodas are a prime culprit when it comes to tooth problems. These sugary drinks are delicious and borderline addictive. It’s easy to lose track of how many calories and how much sugar you’ve consumed from these sodas throughout a day, and the numbers really add up. Switching to sugar-free sodas can help you satisfy your taste buds, without compromising your sugar & caloric intake.
8. Trail Mix
A mixture of dried fruit and nuts can certainly take care of those sugar cravings. The fruits are sweet, and sneaking some nuts into your diet has been linked to multiple health benefits.
Coming in at number 9 is actually a spice! Cinnamon gives foods that it’s mixed with a nice, sweet flavor. Consider adding cinnamon to a sugar-free snack or dessert. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so sugar-free anymore!
There are lots and lots of great ways to satisfy your sweet tooth that don’t involve giving in to the craving for processed and refined sugars! And there are just as many reasons to go for these options instead for the sake of your dental health. Too much sugar can take a toll on your teeth and gums. If you are having toothaches, getting cavities, experiencing sensitivity to temperature or pressure, then there’s a good chance that sugars played a part. If any of these situations apply to you, make sure to contact a dental professional to get yourself feeling right again.
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