You probably realize that in order to maintain elderly oral health as you age, you need to get your sweet tooth under control. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
Sugar has a number of negative effects on your smile, so it’s important to minimize the risks presented by your sweet tooth. Substituting healthier snacks can be helpful, and there are a number of other strategies to mitigate sugar’s impact on your teeth and gums.
How Sugar Affects Your Smile
Sugar is so potentially devastating to your smile because the oral bacteria that live in your mouth thrive by feeding on the stuff. Excess sugar can cause them to proliferate and result in oral health issues ranging from tooth decay to gum disease.
This effect is pronounced when you eat something that is both sweet and sticky. Not only does the sugar provide a valuable source of nutrition for oral bacteria, but the residue lingers on the teeth longer for a double whammy.
Alternatives to Sweets
If you’ve decided you still want something sweet, there are much healthier choices than candy, sugar-laden sodas and other sugary junk foods.
- Fruit: Fruit is nature’s candy and a great option for satisfying a sweet tooth. Be inventive. Mashed up frozen bananas can substitute for ice cream in a pinch. Fruit smoothies are satisfying and filling.
- Sugar-free gum or mints: Removing the sugar from these items eliminates its effects on your teeth.
- Yogurt: Yogurt with minimal added sweetener can cure your craving for sweets.
- Dark Chocolate: Although its consumption should still be limited, dark chocolate is an indulgence that’s easier on your teeth and associated with other health benefits.
Other Ways to Minimize the Effects Of Sugar
In addition to swapping for healthier treats, other strategies can help you reduce sugar’s impact on your smile. For example, if you eat dessert with a meal rather than by itself, you’ll have already produced a significant amount of saliva that helps to clear away the sugar.
Drinking a lot of water while eating sweet treats is beneficial for the same reason.
Additionally, patients should seek routine dental care in order to keep their smiles as clean and healthy as possible. If it is difficult for you to leave your home to see the dentist, explore options for homebound care for exams and cleanings with our skilled and friendly team.
Do you need more suggestions on how to keep a sweet tooth in check or how to indulge that sweet tooth without wrecking your smile? Call us to discuss these concerns.