Everybody enjoys a sweet treat now and then, but did you know it can have a direct connection with tooth decay? Molecules in the sugar you eat combine with saliva and bacteria in your mouth to create something called “plaque” on your teeth. Plaque is A sticky film that coats teeth and contains bacteria. If dental plaque isn't removed when it's soft, it hardens and becomes difficult to remove. Dental plaque can damage a tooth and lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. Plaque can also dissolve the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities.
It is important to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating to control the bacteria and plaque that grow. Sugar in foods and rinks can also lead to gum disease and lowers the pH of your mouth. While this sounds scary, not all bacteria in your mouth, some are beneficial! It is important to have some bacteria to protect your teeth and oral health at the same time.
Sugary Drinks: Alternatives:
-Soda - Sparkling water
-Fruit drinks - Fruit Infused Water
-Sports Drinks - Freshly juiced fruits or vegetables
-Energy Drinks - Kombucha
-Sweetened Waters - Coconut Water
-Coffees and Teas with sugar - Unsweetened coffee and tea
Sugary Foods: Alternatives:
-Candy - Fresh Fruit
-Cakes - Greek Yogurt
-Cookies - Banana Nice Cream
-Dairy Dessert - Electrolyte Popsicles
-Fruit Snacks - Chocolate dipped banana bites
These swaps are a great way to get creative in the kitchen and also take care of your oral health at the same time. Remember, it is important to treat your mouth and teeth with care and keep them healthy for as long as you can!
Check out this healthy coconut fruit dip recipe from a Hy-Vee Dietitian!