There aren’t many people who can honestly say they don’t have a sweet tooth, but as most of us know by now, sweets aren’t exactly good for our teeth as all that sugar can lead to tooth decay and even bigger problems in one’s mouth. Harmful bacteria feed on sugars to create acids that destroy tooth enamel.
Cavities are a bacterial infection created by those acids leading to a hole in the tooth. When they aren’t treated they can eventually get into deeper layers, which is painful and can even result in the loss of the tooth – and, one study found that nearly all Americans have them. By the age of 65, 96 percent have at least some tooth decay, according to a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics. For those who’ve undergone orthodontic treatment like getting braces, it can be even harder to keep the teeth clean, resulting in a higher risk of cavities making it even more important to avoid sweets that harm, choosing instead those that won’t hurt the teeth like these.
Sugarless candy is a good option to avoid harming teeth as they don’t have the sugar that creates acid which weakens enamel, attacking the teeth. Some dentists recommend sugar-free Red Vines when you’ve really got to have something sweet. Sugar-free chewing gum is a good idea too, in fact it’s actually good for the teeth as it helps to remove food that gets caught in gaps and crevices while increasing saliva. Having more saliva is good as it helps neutralize acids in the mouth to prevent tooth decay.
Dark chocolate only contains a relatively small amount of sugar – the darker it is, the less sugar it contains, so look for a high percentage of cacao on the label. The sugar that’s in the chocolate also tends to dissolve quicker which helps too as the longer it’s in your mouth, the more damage it can do to the teeth. Plus, moderate amounts of dark chocolate with a high cacao content is actually good for your overall health as it reduces the risk of developing heart disease thanks to its powerful antioxidants.
Raisins are not only sweet, they’re filled with phytochemicals that are known to inhibit bacteria growth in the mouth while preventing sticky foods from hanging out. They also offer a host of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber, something candy definitely can’t compete with.
Desserts like fruit pies and crumbles are much better for your teeth than many other types of sweets, especially if there isn’t much (or even better, any) sugar added. Better still is whole fruit like apples which are very good for your teeth as the crunching motion helps to clean them. Avoid dried fruit, however, as those sugars tend to stick on the teeth. The idea is to eat fruit in its whole form as much as possible, staying away from sticky treats that can wreak havoc on the health of your teeth.