Why Is Sugar So Bad for Teeth? And What To Eat Instead

Healthy treats without the sugar

10 Sugar-free treats you and your family will love this summer.

Keeping your family’s teeth healthy is probably the hardest during the summer. The change in season comes with many tempting, tasty sugary treats and salty snacks. And while you probably know the harmful effects of such foods, it can still prove difficult to turn the other cheek (spoon?) when hunger pangs or cravings come knocking. If that sounds anything like you, keep reading for 10 sugar-free treats you can try this summer that are perfect for the whole family.

1. Homemade Smoothies

It’s not easy to go from consuming sugar on a daily basis to switching to sugar-free alternatives—especially if you have a sweet tooth. But with homemade smoothies you get the best of both worlds: fruits and veggies rich in vitamins and minerals—remineralizing your teeth and reducing the risk of cavities—and natural sugars that help the smoothie go down “smoothly.” 

To get you started, here’s a good homemade smoothie recipe:

  • ½ cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 medium-sized orange (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 medium-sized banana (peeled and chopped)
  • 1½ cups of frozen mixed berries 
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ¾ cup water (or coconut water or milk/soy/almond milk)
  • 1 kiwi (optional)

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth! 

Try experimenting with different variations of these fruits until you find the right mix that works for your palate and also protects your teeth (read: smile).

2. DIY Fruit Popsicles

It’s tempting to cool off from the summer heat with your favorite tub of ice cream. But the sugar in it will bind to your teeth and gums, feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth, causing an increase in the number of cavity-causing bacteria which “eat” away the enamel and cause tooth decay. A healthier option to try this summer that won’t, ahem, eat you too, is the DIY fruit popsicle. To start, slice your favorite citrus fruits and berries. Place them in a popsicle mold and put it in the freezer overnight and you’ll have a nice cool Wasilla dentist–approved treat the next day. 

3. Fruit Kabob Skewers

It’s hard to find a summer treat the whole family will love, but fruit kabob skewers come pretty close. Let everyone choose five of their favorite fruits. Cut or cube the fruits into bite sizes, add them onto skewers, and, voilà!, your kabobs are ready to serve. You can also put the skewers in the freezer for two to four hours if you prefer a cold summer treat instead.

4. Veggie Dip

Celery, cucumber, cauliflower, and carrots—while these veggies are a tasty snack, once you add the word “dip” at the end of that list, you’re sure to convert any non-believers. At your next summer family picnic, serve these cut vegetables with a veggie dip made of salsa, mayonnaise, sour cream, and your favorite pack of soup. Its spunky taste is a true testament that you can indulge and be kind to your teeth.

5. Mixed Nuts

If you’ve got a taste for potato chips or pretzels, then mixed nuts may just be the tooth-friendly alternative that gives you the crunchy, salty taste you crave. Eat almonds and cashews as a pre-dinner snack and try this mixed nut recipe without the sugar for your next wine-centric date night. Nuts are not only a great source of minerals, but they also stimulate saliva production, washing away harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.

6. Cheese

Are you or your little ones hungry before dinner? It’s tempting to stave off your family’s post-lunch hunger pains with baked goods and sugary snacks. But all of that sugar can do serious damage to your smile—hello, rotten teeth and cavities! Cheese is a much healthier snacking alternative, perfect for those 3 o’clock “Mommy, I’m hungry” cries. What’s more? This calcium-rich treat also makes your teeth appear more white. 

7. Grain-free mini pizzas

Dentist-approved pizzas—three words you probably never thought you’d see next to each other in a sentence. Sure, the cheese in regular pizza contains calcium, which helps put back minerals your teeth may have lost because of other foods, but this benefit doesn’t compare to the damage starch has on your teeth. These simple carbs become food for mouth bacteria, increasing their numbers and leading to enamel erosion. With grain-free mini pizzas, you’ll have something that benefits your teeth and also looks and tastes just like regular pizza—a win-win. Here’s an easy-to-follow recipe for you to try when pizza cravings come knocking this summer.

8. Texas Caviar

Now here’s a nutrient-rich salad that’s perfect for potlucks and backyard picnics. Texas caviar consists of a hearty combination of corn, black-eyed peas, and beans marinated overnight. Its tangy taste can awaken even the most reluctant of taste buds, quenching sweet tooth cravings without any added sugar. Check out this Wasilla dentist–approved Texas caviar recipe and remember to swap out the tortilla chips for whole-grain pita chips—your teeth will thank you for it. 

9. Apple bagels

Peanut butter apple bagels aren’t just for kids, they’re for adults too. Enjoy the sweet (yet tart) taste that comes with every bite and let Mother Nature’s toothbrush remove plaque from your enamel. Adding peanut butter to apples turns this ordinary fruit into a delicious summer treat the whole family can enjoy.

10. Hummus

Another healthy dip that’s a big hit with the team at Valley Dental Clinic: hummus. Its protein- and folic-rich chickpeas promote cell growth throughout the body, which also helps to keep your mouth healthy. Share your favorite hummus recipe with us through our Facebook page. And feel free to request an appointment with our dentist in Wasilla for all your oral care needs. Our friendly staff is here to address any concerns you may have about your oral health.

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