We know that sweets are bad news for your teeth, and that too much sugar can lead to a variety of other health issues including diabetes and heart disease. But sometimes it can be hard to control your sweet tooth when when you smell a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies or walk down the ice cream aisle at the supermarket.
As long as you’re practicing good dental health and maintaining a healthy diet, there is nothing wrong with indulging every once in awhile. But if you’re snacking on sweets a little too often, you may want to follow some of these techniques to help control your sweet tooth.
Watch your daily intake.
Your daily sugar intake should be less than 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Pay attention to how much sugar is in the food you’re consuming on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and molasses sucrose are just fancy names for sugar, so foods with those ingredients on the list aren’t necessarily better.
Choose healthy alternatives.
If you feel a sweet binge coming on, first try to identify the source of the craving. Are you actually hungry? If not, drink a large glass of water before deciding whether to give in to the craving or not. This will mostly likely fill you up and help the craving disappear.
If you are hungry, choose a healthier snack instead. Fresh fruit can help satisfy sweet cravings without the added sugars that are bad for you. It also contains vitamins and minerals that are good for your dental and overall health.
If fruit and water won’t do the job, opt for food that strengthens your teeth instead.
Grab a stick of Xylitol gum.
Chewing gum can be a good way to control your sweet tooth, but not all gum is good for your dental health.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps to prevent tooth decay. It can be found in small doses in several fruits and vegetables. Xylitol gum is recommended by several dental professionals as a way to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.
It is certainly a better alternative than a hot fudge sundae or a batch of brownies.
Always brush and floss after indulging.
If you do give into temptation and find yourself snacking on a package of Oreos, make sure to immediately brush and floss afterwards.
Sugar is bad for the teeth because it acts as an energy source for the bacteria that form plaque. It allows the bacteria to spread faster and plaque and tarter to build up easier. This is why brushing and flossing to remove sugar and bacteria immediately after consuming sweets is so important.
Keep a mini bottle of mouthwash or floss in your bag for easy access if you find yourself snacking on sweets at work or in another out-of-home situation.