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Overcoming Sugar Cravings: Snacks Alternatives that are Good for the Teeth

The pandemic is a period marked by extreme stress and anxiety. From the mounting death tolls to the indefinite isolation, many factors could put you on edge. Naturally, you might find yourself turning to food for comfort. But while indulging in these sudden urges gives you temporary relief, the same could put your oral health at risk.

Before you give in to the sweet temptations, consider these top snacks alternatives that can help satisfy your cravings without hurting your teeth.

Why do we turn to food when we’re stressed?

People tend to eat more when they’re stressed. Generally, the reason can be traced to the release of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone.

When a person feels stressed or anxious, such emotion makes the body think it’s in danger. As a result, different hormones are pumped into the bloodstream, preparing the body for ‘fight or flight.’ Among these hormones that are released include cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Cortisol stimulates the production of glucose to give the body sufficient stock of energy. Consequently, this makes the body crave sugary or salty foods.

Since the pandemic triggered lots of stress and worries, it’s no surprise that many might find themselves reaching for food more often than usual. In a recent survey, the American Psychological Association found that 42% of adults in the US had experienced unsought weight gain since the pandemic started. Later on, another research found that youths aged 5 to 17 years experienced significant weight gain during the pandemic.

If you’re one among those who gained extra pounds during the crisis, your teeth could already be in great danger. After all, sweets and other foods are known to increase the risks of tooth decay. Before the craving becomes overshadowed with a toothache or other common teeth problems, it’s best to redirect your appetite to healthier food alternatives as early as now. This way, you can satisfy your craving without putting your oral health at risk.

Snacks Alternatives that are Good for the Teeth

If you’re starting to feel sudden and extreme urges to eat sweets, consider eating these healthy snacks instead:

 

  • Greek Yogurt

 

Ask dentists for snack suggestions, and the majority would probably point to Greek yogurts. While these dairy products are more tangy than sweet, you can still pair them up with fruits to get a sweet and velvety taste to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Generally, there’s a lengthy list of reasons why yogurt is considered a good snack choice to protect your teeth. The first and most obvious reason is that they are high in calcium, which helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. Specifically, calcium helps fortify the outer covering of your tooth, called enamel. This outer covering shields the inner layers of your teeth from bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Another reason is that yogurt is among the best sources of probiotics, which are considered good bacteria for the body. In a 2017 study, scientists found that probiotics help reduce colony-forming units (CFU) of oral pathogens responsible for common oral infections and diseases, such as bad breath.

Yogurt also has a role in balancing your mouth’s pH levels. Since most bacteria thrive in acidic environments, yogurt can help keep them away by keeping your mouth less acidic.

  • Pears

Fresh fruits are the best alternative to anything sugary. While all fruits are generally good for your health, pears are considered the best choice when it comes to improving your oral health.

They are crunchy to the mouth, which helps scrub the teeth and remove food residue between the teeth. They also have high water content, which increases salivation and, in turn, helps wash away bacteria in the mouth. 

Compared to other fruits, pears are also less acidic. This means they are less likely to cause tooth enamel damage.

  • Watermelons

Aside from pears, watermelon is also a good snack bet for your teeth. Watermelons are often called nature’s toothbrushes. Rich in fiber, they can cleanse your mouth as they scrub your teeth as you eat.

Like pears, they are also juicy and can stimulate salivation, which helps wash away food debris stuck between the teeth and even under the gums. They also come rich in vitamin C, which aids in collagen synthesis and helps quickly repair possible gum wounds.

  • Almonds

Almonds are another possible option. While these nuts are not necessarily sweet, they can help curb your sugar craving. The reason lies in how almonds regulate glucose levels. Generally, high and low blood sugar can both trigger sudden and extreme sugar cravings. Since almonds prevent blood sugar imbalance, they help keep you away from sudden cravings.

Aside from that, almonds are also rich in calcium and protein. Both minerals help strengthen and protect tooth enamel from damage and erosion.

  • Cheese sticks

Cheese sticks are also worthy of being included in your snack list. Similar to almonds, they are not exactly sweet, but they can help prevent sugar cravings. This is because cheese sticks are packed with protein and fat, which help balance blood sugar levels.

Moreover, cheese sticks are rich in calcium. Hence, they help keep the teeth strong. They also don’t contain much sugar and can even stimulate the production of saliva.

A Word of Advice

Ready to overcome your sweet cravings?

Although these foods promise many benefits to your oral health, they are no substitute for basic oral hygiene practices. No matter how healthy and promising these snacks could get, bacteria could still feast on them and thrive in your mouth without proper dental care. 

Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day thoroughly. Regular flossing is also necessary to keep the gaps between your teeth free from food debris. You could also visit us here at Kyrene Family Dentistry for professional checkups and treatment.