Does your dentist talk to you about your sweet tooth?
One of the most important parts of a routine dental visit is receiving oral health education from your dental team. We spend a lot of time with our patients and their parents talking about eating habits that directly affect their oral health. A popular question is about intake of sweets. We all love a sweet treat now and then, so what are the facts about some of your favorite treats and how can you still enjoy them and protect your teeth?
How can I balance a sweet tooth and healthy teeth?
Sweet treats can be enjoyed in moderation. You can protect your teeth by eating them with meals and not using them as snacks throughout the day. Stay away from sticky treats, like gummies and taffy, as they stay on your teeth longer. Also, biting into hard candies can damage teeth or dental work already in place.
How does chocolate impact teeth?
Most people love the flavor of chocolate. It is the ultimate comfort food. Even the smell of chocolate can increase the brain waves that aid in relaxation. At one time in history, chocolate was more valuable than gold dust!
There are three kinds of chocolate: white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. Each variety of chocolate has varying amounts of sugar per ounce.
- White chocolate has 17 grams of sugar per ounce.
- Milk chocolate has 15 grams of sugar per ounce.
- Dark chocolate has 14 grams of sugar per ounce.
Dark chocolate, with its slightly less sugar content, is also rich in antioxidants and contains a small amount of iron. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which help fight the overgrowth of bacteria, reduce bad breath, and keep some sugars from turning into acid, which can eventually turn into decay and cavities.
Regardless of your chocolate preference, unlike hard candies and gummy treats, chocolate does not stay in your teeth as long and is less likely to cause cavities and plaque. You can enjoy it with a little less guilt — but always be sure to enjoy chocolate in moderation for your oral and overall health!
How do you decrease sugar in baking?
Here are a few tips to decrease your sugar usage when you cook or bake:
- Try reducing sugar in your recipes in small bits — first cut back a quarter of the sugar, then half of the sugar. For the missed sugar volume, add flour. With a gradual reduction it’s easier to get used to the new taste.
- Second, try to substitute sugar with other options: fresh fruits, Stevia, spices, fruit puree, syrups, honey, yeast, and artificial sweeteners.
- Lastly, reconsider any sugar-based toppings for baked goods such as icing, fine sugar, and powdered sugar.
How do I choose healthy snacks for strong, healthy teeth?
Just remember, snack smart! If you’re not sure about good ways to do that, never fear. We’ve got resources on how to snack for healthy teeth which you can reference anytime. If you’ve got more questions, feel free to call us at 816-479-5562 — we’re always here to help!