We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for health, but it’s also dangerous for your teeth and gums. Consuming too many sweet foods and drinks contributes to plaque formation in the mouth, which raises the risk of tooth decay.
It can also cause a wide range of other dental problems, but what if you have a sweet tooth? If you don’t want to deny yourself those tasty treats because you’re afraid of cavities, a few simple tricks will help you keep your oral health on track.
What Should You Be Eating?
Let’s first take a look at which foods are best for a healthy mouth:
● Cheese and Yogurt – Packed with calcium, protein and good bacteria, these foods can help strengthen tooth enamel and fight the growth of harmful bacteria. Chewing harder cheeses also promotes the production of saliva.
● Leafy Greens – Fresh spinach, kale, broccoli and other leafy vegetables are great for overall health as well as dental health. They are rich in calcium, folic acid and other nutrients that can help keep your teeth and gums in great shape.
● Apples – Like many other fruits, apples are rich in fiber and water content while also being sweet and tasty. Eating a crunchy apple after a meal stimulates your gums and helps to remove bacteria and food particles from your teeth.
● Carrots – Rich in Vitamin A and fiber, eating carrots is a great way to clean your teeth after meals. It also stimulates saliva production, which lowers the risk of tooth decay and promotes better tooth and gum health.
● Celery – It may not seem very tempting, but chomping down on some fresh celery stalks after a meal can help keep your teeth clean. It also adds vitamins A and C to your diet, which promote gum health.
● Almonds – These delicious nuts are packed with protein and calcium, with very little sugar. Eat them as snacks or add them to a dish while cooking.
Cooking Tips and Tricks for Better Oral Health
Here’s how you can keep tooth decay at bay if you have a sweet tooth:
1. Shop Smarter – When you’re out shopping for groceries, pay attention to the ingredient list. For instance, artificially sweetened yogurt will not give you the same oral health benefits as plain yogurt. Buy more fresh fruits and crunchy veggies so you can grab them when you feel like snacking.
2. Use Healthy Ingredients – Now that you know which foods are good for your teeth, explore recipes that use them. Almonds, cheese and apples are core ingredients for some delicious desserts, but you can also enjoy dishes made with other fruits or even certain vegetables. Carrot cake, anyone?
3. Use Sugar Substitutes – Many of your favorite desserts can be prepared with natural sweeteners instead of processed sugar, which makes them more tooth-friendly. Avoid chemical-based artificial sweeteners, and instead go for healthier options such as raw honey, maple syrup, etc.
4. Watch Your Drinks – You might love fizzy sodas or packaged fruit juice, but think about the effect these can have on your teeth and gums. Plain water is the healthiest option, but consider lemonade sweetened with raw honey or fresh-squeezed OJ if you’re craving a sweet drink.
5. Practice Oral Care – If you’re fond of the sugary goodies, you need to pay special attention to your oral hygiene and dental care routine. Brush and floss your teeth 20 minutes after a meal, limit your snacks, drink lots of water, and make a date with your dentist every 6 months!
Author Bio: Shen Chao is part of Dr. Joshua Hong’s Smile Clinic. While working for the Smile Clinic, he’s gained first hand experiences into the questions and concerns that dental patients have. He has been writing to inform people about various dental topics to help his readers improve their oral health. When he’s not working, you can find him on a hiking trail with his dog or having a Sunday cook-out with friends.