Many people are guilty of having a sweet tooth. And while it’s not wrong to prefer sweet food, it can have short and long-term effects on your dental health. Sugar-filled foods, candies, soft drinks, and other sweet foods are not only acidic, but they can help turn your mouth into a thriving environment for bacteria and can cause tooth decay.
It has become a serious problem in the United States. 91 percent of Americans over the age of 20 years old have had cavities at least once in their life. That might be enough to convince people to take better care of their teeth and watch what they eat, but for people with sweet tooth cravings, it can be challenging to cut back on sweets.
But what if you could give up unhealthy sweets and trade it for healthier sweet treats? These alternatives can help you wean off sugars and save you a trip to the dentist’s office for another cavity.
Candies, ice cream, cakes, and other pastries may be a great way to end a meal, but they’re filled with refined sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Instead, why not try fresh fruits that are already naturally sweet and filled with nutrients?
Depending on which fruits you choose, most fruits are high in fiber and vitamins. Its sweetness comes from the natural composition of a fruit, so a cup of fruit contains fewer calories compared to a cup of ice cream.
We recommend getting fresh fruits over store-bought products with them, as some products are filled with sugars and artificial preservatives. For example, orange juice with pulp is good for you, but a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice is much better than a carton of it filled with preservatives and sweeteners.
Homemade Trail Mix
For snacks to eat while working or while lounging around, skip the chips and the store-bought trail mix (it may contain chocolates and ingredients filled with sugars) and make your own trail mix. Add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, grains, dried fruit, cacao nibs, or any other dried snack you want. Aside from the health benefits, at least you won’t have to pick through ingredients you don’t like because you can mix only the ones you want!
Homemade Popsicles and “Nice Cream”
The problem with store-bought cold treats is that you know that the manufacturer used lots of sweeteners and preservatives. For example, when a business markets its food as “sugar-free,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy; it simply uses other sweeteners like corn syrup and artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame.
If you’re interested in healthier cold sweet alternatives, try making your own popsicles and “nice cream” recipes at home. Popsicles can easily be made with water, fruit juice, and milk or yogurt mixed and placed into molds. “Nice cream” is fruit-based ice cream; simply blend or process frozen bananas with any other fruit to create an ice cream-like treat.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Some of your favorite sinful desserts don’t have to be removed, just modified. Instead of dipping fresh strawberries in milk chocolate, try dipping it in dark chocolate. Plenty of dark chocolate manufacturers offer dark chocolates with little to no sugar, so get a dark chocolate bar with the least amount of sugar possible. The natural sweetness of the strawberry and chocolatey taste of the dark chocolate can be a great indulgent (but still healthy) treat.
Choosing to go healthy doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of sweet foods. These are only a few examples of ways you can steer clear of sugars that can negatively affect your dental health, so at least if you do decide to cut sugar out, you know that that doesn’t mean cutting out all sweet foods.