Tricks to outsmart your sweet tooth

by MikeMeehan 10/24/2018 10:02 AM

It’s Halloween night, and your kids have returned from trick-or-treating with their sugary loots. Before digging in, consider the cavity-causing effects that candy can have on teeth. Enjoying sweets in moderation and managing your cravings can help you avoid tooth decay. Start taming your sweet tooth by learning how much sugar is OK to eat. The Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, daily for those over the age of 3. Because the sugar contents of fun-sized candies vary from 2.4 grams to 14.5 grams, there’s no general rule for how many you can eat each day. Check the packaging and brand websites to calculate the number of candies you should limit yourself to. And remember to factor in the added sugars from all the other foods and drinks you consume. It adds up fast! If you reach your daily limit but the candy bowl is still tempting you, try these tips to defeat the craving:  1. Chew sugar-free gum. Popping in a stick of sugar-free gum instead of a bonbon helps in a couple ways. A study by Louisiana State University found that chewing gum may reduce snack cravings. It’s also useful for cleaning your mouth. Gum washes away leftover food particles and reduces acids that threaten tooth enamel.  2. Distract yourself when a craving hits. Taking a walk has been shown to reduce the urge to eat treats. Plus, it gets you away from the candy bowl. You know what they say – out of sight, out of mind. And if you don’t feel like taking a stroll, do an activity like giving yourself a pedicure. Pick something fun that rewards you for skipping the sweets.  3. Keep healthy substitutes close by. When you really want something sweet but already ate too much sugar, choose naturally sweet foods like fruits and vegetables. Apples, cherries, bell peppers, carrots and others will give you the taste you want along with the nutrients you need. 4. Eat at consistent intervals. You might have heard the saying, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Well, that’s especially true when choosing foods. If your tummy’s grumbling, you might make unhealthy decisions like reaching for a candy bar instead of a nutritious snack. Eat every three to five hours to keep blood sugar in check and maintain a level head. 5. Power up with protein. Low protein levels can cause you to start craving sugar. Your body wants an energy boost and sugar is a quick source. Plan to get protein throughout the day with foods such as beans, eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats.  Even with moderation, good oral health habits are still essential for avoiding cavities. Clean your teeth and gums after consuming sugar by brushing for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. If you aren’t able to sneak away to the bathroom, chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water.  

5 Ways to Keep Your Sweet Tooth Healthy This Holiday Season

by MikeMeehan 12/13/2017 2:58 PM

Your December calendar is filling up quickly with work celebrations, school concerts, and family and friend gatherings. Despite your busy schedule this time of year, don’t let the season put the health of your smile in jeopardy. I’m going to enjoy the tradition of holiday cookies, and I want you all to enjoy too! Let’s just make sure we don’t skip our twice daily brushing during the frenzy and flurry. Here’s five ways to keep your oral health safe through this sugar-filled season. When you’re indulging in sweets, enjoy with a meal When indulging in the holiday cookies and candy, enjoy with a meal. Choose not to make the sweet treat a stand-alone snack. If you eat with other foods, the foods will stimulate saliva, which will help to wash the harmful sugars and acids away from your teeth and gums. Drink water after eating candy and cookies If you’re eating holiday sweets, drink more water. Drinking water will wash away the leftover food in your teeth and mouth. Also, do your best to avoid sugary beverages. Don’t let your good habits hibernate It’s the holidays, and it’s fun to celebrate with special foods and treats. Now counterbalance that by keeping up your usual good oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. It doesn’t hurt to throw in an additional brushing a day with the extra intake of sugar. And even when the holidays are over, and you want to hide away from the cold, don’t let the inactivity mean laziness when taking care of your teeth. Be prepared with a toothbrush and floss Since you’re keeping up those good oral health habits, remember to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste when you’re traveling to see family and friends over the holidays. Even though you aren’t in your daily routine at home, keep up the daily habits of brushing and flossing, no matter where you are during the holidays. Try to limit the snacks Overall, though there will be lots of temptations put out at work, during your visiting, and all the other special places you may go. Try to stay away from the between-meal snacks like pretzels and crackers. Though the sugar-filled food like cake and cookies are highlighted during the season, snacks like chips and pretzels still contain sugar and starch that can stick to your teeth. Instead reach for the other snack options like carrots, celery, nuts and cheese. Fresh veggies and these other options are a better choice for your smile. With a few extra precautions this holiday season, you’ll keep your smile healthy and bright for the new year.

3 Summertime Sweets Good for Your Smile

by MikeMeehan 6/30/2017 10:09 AM

Ah… summer. Time to relax and unwind. While you’re relaxing and enjoying the summer, remember to keep up your oral health routine. To help you do that, here are some summertime fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth so you can protect your smile while enjoying the sun. Although we may associate summer with ice cream, ice pops and s’mores, those summertime choices can increase the risk of tooth decay. Try satisfying your sweet craving with fruit instead. Not only does fruit provide overall health benefits, they have benefits for your smile, too. Strawberries and summer are a wonderful duo. These berries are filled with vitamin C, and vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen. Collagen helps maintain the strength of your gums and strong gums are important for keeping a healthy smile. Reducing plaque and removing the surface stains on your teeth are also on the to-do list of vitamin C. Remember strawberries are acidic, so drink plenty of water after your summer treat. You’ll be drinking the extra water in the summer heat anyway. Apples have a high water content and stimulate saliva production. Your saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth under control. Also, when you eat this low-acid, fibrous fruit, it scrubs the surface of your teeth. Apples, like strawberries, are called “dental detergents” for this reason. Watermelons, along with strawberries and just like apples, are a water-rich fruit. Along with their smile benefits, they are helping to keep you hydrated during the hot days of summer. Water helps remove particles of food in your mouth and stuck in your teeth, it washes away bacteria, and helps promote saliva production. All this helps increase the natural protection of tooth enamel. Watermelon also has that valuable vitamin C which helps to kill bacteria in your mouth and strengthen gum tissues. Having some strawberries and watermelon cut up and ready to eat in the fridge will make it easier for you and your family to make the choice of healthy fruit over other sweet snacks. Year round, the food you choose to eat can have an impact on your oral health. Consider these other food choices to maintain your healthy smile. Keep up the healthy routine The Delta Dental mobile app can also help you keep up your oral health routine. The app features a built in toothbrush timer, dentist search and access to your claims and coverage and ID cards—providing you access to dental resources whether you are away on summer vacation or at home. Download our mobile app from iTunes or Google Play by searching for “Delta Dental.” Remember to brush twice daily and if you do partake in the summer tradition of s’mores or other foods with cavity-causing sugar, drink lots of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, so imperative in the heat, but you will be washing away excess food particles that stick to your teeth.

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