There are many healthy alternatives to snacks with lots of sugar which don’t drop the sweetness of the flavor. This is good news for people who want something sweet, but don’t want the sugar for their general health. However, some of these alternative snacks can still hurt your oral health, even if they’re sugar free.
When you eat sugar, bacteria in your mouth begin to eat what’s left over and produce acids. This can lead to cavities. However, some low-sugar recipes contain more acid than natural sugar. Acidic foods and beverages, like hibiscus and some sorbets, can be more damaging to your teeth than if they were packed with sugar. Hibiscus is highly acidic, and hibiscus tea can really do a number on the enamel. Also for calorie control some will drink non sugar sports drinks not being aware of the acidic level of those choices.
Foods that Stick
Some of these sugar-free foods are very sticky. Even without a lot of sugar, if it sticks to your teeth, the bacteria will be present to take advantage of this. Bacteria will eat any sugar they can find. So, healthy alternatives, like raisins, prunes, and other dry fruits can be as sticky as foods loaded with sugar, like chocolate cake.
Some people will forego any type of refined sugar and substitute it for honey or agave. However, don’t be fooled! Bacteria will still be attracted to it. It is still a sugar. Sucrose, like fructose, is a bacterial buffet.
Foods that Stain
Berries are a good alternative snack to something like M&Ms, but if you eat them regularly, they can stain your teeth (they also contain acids). While stained teeth aren’t much of a health issue, it is certainly a side effect of replacing one sweet thing for another.
So, what can be done if even the healthy alternatives seem to cause problems? One thing is to snack less. Although this doesn’t seem a satisfying thing to do, it’s the best strategy. Realistically, you may simply want to think about some snacks that are higher in protein and lower in sugar. Vegetables, like carrots or celery, are an option.
At the end of the day, you know what’s best. It is important to remember to brush after each meal, and if you’re snacking a lot, this is definitely something you should consider. Drink water to help neutralize the acids in your mouth and clean off some of the food debris bacteria love so much.
To find out more about what you can do about protecting your teeth, contact Janet or Rachel at Whitmore Dental to arrange a consultation by calling Whitmore Dental at 877-779-4486. We are conveniently located at 5932 West Parker Road, Suite 600, Plano, TX 75093.