How To Prevent Your Sweet Tooth From Ruining Your Smile

Posted on: 27 February 2015

People like sugar.  In fact, the average American consumes around 20 teaspoons of sugar a day.  Do you have a sweet tooth?  Is it trying to tempt the other teeth in your mouth to binge on sugary treats?  Here are a few ways to prevent your sweet tooth from wreaking havoc on your smile.

Trick Your Sweet Tooth

Bacteria love sugar.  When you eat sugar, the bacteria in the plaque eat it and then turn it into acid.  Then, the acids dissolve your enamel that protects your teeth.  Soon, a cavity will begin to form.

While giving up sugar completely would benefit your teeth, it's possible your sweet tooth might go into shock.  Since your sweet tooth might not be ready to give up dessert, you may have to trick it.  The key to this is to consume foods that are low in sugar but still sweet tasting.  Here are a few tips to dupe your sweet tooth:

  • Add healthy fats, fiber and protein to the mix: You probably don't want to cut sugar out of your diet completely.  However, by adding slow-digesting nutrients to your sweets, you can satisfy your sugar cravings.   For example, you could eat some dark chocolate with peanut butter.  Furthermore, foods with fiber encourage saliva flow, which helps fight cavities naturally.
  • Add fruit: Fruit is naturally sweet.  When your sweet tooth starts asking for cake, you can chomp on a piece of fruit instead.  This will help curb cravings and help you avoid eating something ultra sugary.  Even though fruit has natural sugar, some fruits have fewer sugar grams than others.  For instance, raspberries have five grams of sugar per cup.  Blackberries and strawberries are two other good choices.  On the other hand, you'll want to avoid lychees which have 29 grams of sugar per cup.

Don't Let the Sugar Have the Upper Hand

If you do decide to indulge your sweet tooth, there are a few ways to prevent the sugar from attacking your teeth.

  • Consume sugar with a meal: When you sip on a soda all day long, your teeth are exposed to the sugar all day long.  As a result, the bacteria in your mouth have a constant sugar source to produce acid.  For this reason, you should eat and drink sugary sweets with a meal. This allows your teeth to be exposed to lower acid levels.  
  • Use a straw: If you must drink a sugary drink, you should use a straw.  In this way, the sugar won't have as much contact with your teeth.  After drinking a soda or juice, you can rinse your mouth out with water to dilute the sugars.  In addition, brushing your teeth is another good idea.  However, since acidic foods and beverages temporarily soften enamel, you should wait for at least an hour before brushing.  This way your teeth can recover and your enamel can re-harden.  

To keep your sweet tooth in check, find a dentist who will help keep you accountable in regards to your dental hygiene and eating habits.