Is an uncontrollable sweet tooth the bane of your oral health? It can be hard to resist the cookies, candies, and cakes that you pass by in the grocery store or that are kept in your home by family members when you love sugary sweets. While eating a bit of candy here and there likely won't sabotage your dental health, eating these treats daily, especially if you don't brush immediately after eating them, can. Use your cravings for sweets to your advantage by enjoying the following treats that don't contribute to cavities, but instead actually prevent them.
1. Sugar-free Licorice Candy
One treat that fights cavities as you enjoy it is licorice. Don't run to the store and stock up on the red, fruity vines you enjoyed as a child, though. Instead, look for candy that contains real licorice extract and not imitation flavoring. Research has shown that substances in licorice root, including licoricidin, help fight the bacteria that causes cavities. It is actually so effective at preventing cavities that researchers are currently looking for ways to include similar substances found in other plants in new dental products.
You don't have to wait for researchers to finish their studies that may lead to new products on the market when you can purchase a bag of sugar-free licorice candy and enjoy it at your leisure. There are hard and soft candies available. If you choose the hard ones, remember not to bite into the candy, which could lead to a broken tooth. If you wear dental appliances, make sure to obtain the approval of your dentist or orthodontist before indulging on the chewy kind.
2. Green Tea Candy
Brewed green tea has been known for many years to be a very healthy beverage filled with inflammation and free-radical fighting antioxidants, so it only makes sense that it would improve oral health in some way. While not as common in the United States as in other areas of the world, such as Asia, green tea candy has been around for a long time. As with most other candies today, you can also find sugar-free versions of green tea candy that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose or xylitol.
A study showed that people with inflammatory gum disease who chewed eight green tea candies each day experienced a reduction in their gum inflammation. Even if you don't have gum disease, antioxidants like the ones in green tea are known to also prevent disease and not just improve it. That means that you can indulge in as many sugar-free green tea candies as you would like while improving your gum health and possibly reducing your chances of developing gum disease later in life.
3. Dark Chocolate
It may sound crazy, but dark chocolate is actually great for your teeth.While you may have heard that dark chocolate is healthy to eat in moderation due to its high antioxidant content, it is actually another substance in chocolate that makes it so great for your teeth and not just the antioxidants. This component, called cacao bean husk extract, is being discovered to be a more powerful cavity-fighter than the existing gold-standard in fighting cavities, fluoride.
Since this substance is in pure cocoa beans, choose dark chocolate to make sure you get more of this beneficial substance than you would in a milk chocolate bar that contains mostly milk and fat. Another great option to reap the benefits of chocolate without the fat, sugar, and calories is to drink artificially sweetened hot cocoa made with pure cocoa powder and milk. Milk is another food that is good for your teeth, since it actually neutralizes cavity-causing bacteria, so you can indulge in this beverage often, guilt-free.
If you have a sweet tooth that seems uncontrollable, then use it to benefit your oral health. Next time you have a sugar craving, satisfy it with one of these three sweet treats, and you may end up with fewer cavities at your next dental check-up as a result. For more tips, contact a local clinic like Bruggeman Dental.