Spring is a little like the new year.
We create lists filled with things that need to be done, purchased and cleaned. But for more than a couple reasons, there’s one item that always seems to make everyone’s list. Eating healthier. For most, it proves to be a herculean task, because it means cutting out foods they genuinely enjoy for the “greater good.” I come across my fair share of patients who tell me they have problems taming their sweet tooth. They want to know how to still eat sweets without ruining the work they put into perfecting their teeth.
But what if I told you there was no need to cut the sweets completely, but maintaining healthy teeth was just a matter of finding healthier alternatives?
Eating too many sugary foods can cause real, lasting dental problems like tooth decay and gingivitis which, down the line, will haunt you in the form of dental bills. So we’ll save you the trouble, and give you a list of some healthier options you can substitute for controlling your sweet tooth.
Fresh fruit. I know, it’s obvious. Not most people’s favorite, but it kicks off the list because it is the healthiest option. Fruit is ideal for those late-night hankerings that seem to require sweets, but won’t ruin your healthy habits.
Yogurt. This is also a great option if you can’t stand eating fruits on their own. Throw them into a cup of your favorite yogurt for a healthy snack whenever the craving hits.
Dark chocolate. When it comes to finding an alternative for chocolate, this is your best bet. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, has less sugar and is usually less processed than its lighter counterpart.
Smoothies. Instead of rummaging around in the ice cream section of the grocery store, skip it and grab a smoothie instead.
Café Mocha. While we’re on the drinks, we should probably cover one of the most popular espresso-based drinks. Mochas are a favorite because of the added chocolate. The key to keeping it healthy is to opt for the smallest size and low- or non-fat milk.
Rice cakes. For a low-sugar, low-fat option, rice cakes are the way to go. The beauty here is you can top them with virtually anything you can think of. Depending on what you top them with, they can be a great solution for any meal. Some quick ideas? Peanut butter, hummus, tuna or your favorite cheese all make for a great-tasting and healthy snack!
Keeping your intake of sweets to a minimum is a difficult thing to do, but if you want a healthy smile and want to keep your oral habits on track, it’s a necessary evil. Hopefully, we made your job a little easier by giving you some alternatives for those detrimental, high-fat sweets. And cutting back on the sweets won’t only leave your teeth in good standing, but it will also take a few pounds off!