Got a sweet tooth? The craving for something sweet and delicious is something most people can understand. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to completely ignore cravings that arise. In fact, this behavior can lead to binging, or swinging too far into the deep end when you reach a “breaking point.” You can enjoy sweet treats in moderation, and with proper dental care and making some smile-friendly choices, your teeth and gums will be just fine! Here are 5 smile-friendly ways to satisfy that sweet tooth without sacrificing your oral health:

Try to Satisfy Cravings With Whole Fruits First

Fruit was designed to be eaten whole—a perfect package of water, fiber, and natural sugars. When it is enjoyed in its original form, and in moderation, most fruits will not damage teeth or gums. In fact, they can help keep them healthy! Stay away from highly acidic choices when possible (like lemons and pineapple.) Often, a good piece of ripe fruit is very effective at satisfying a craving for sweets!

Eat Dessert After Your Meal (Rather Than As a Stand-Alone Treat)

If you plan to indulge in a decadent dessert, it’s best to do so after a meal, rather than as its own stand-alone occasion. The food from the main course can often help protect tooth enamel from the sugars and acids that can be deposited during the treat afterward. Not only that, but you are likely going to eat less of it if you ate a good meal first, and won’t be delivered a massive spike of sugar in your blood stream as you would eating dessert alone. Most people also brush after eating their evening meal, so this will also help reduce the damage from the sugary ending.

Stay Away From Sticky Options

Try to avoid anything that sticks to your teeth (or in between them.) Caramel, gummy candy, and even dried fruit can all become lodged into, or stuck onto your teeth for long periods of time, allowing plaque bacteria to begin feeding on the sugar, which turns it to enamel-damaging acid on the surface of your teeth. These types of sweet treats are best avoided.

Avoid Choices That Are Held in the Mouth for a Long Period of Time

Similarly, anything that you keep in your mouth for a long time, such as jawbreakers, hard candies, suckers, etc. can definitely cause an increase in tooth decay, and are often responsible for chipped teeth on top of it! Anything that must be sucked on, and anything hard that’s tempting to crush or chomp down on, is not a good choice where your mouth is concerned.

Drink Water During and Brush After Enjoying Your Treat

Remember to drink water while you enjoy your treat to help rinse and flush away sugars. If you’re not eating anything acidic, brush immediately after you finish. If you do indulge in anything with a high acid content, wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before brushing. Brushing immediately after consuming acidic food can actually damage tooth enamel.

Enjoy those treats in moderation, but try to stay away from the most damaging choices if possible, and take good care to brush, floss, and rinse thoroughly. To learn more, visit https://broomfielddentist.com/ Dr. Mary Peebles-Turner serves patients in the Broomfield area of Colorado.