Good or bad, we all have our favorite foods, and some of them are worse for us than others. The key is to eat so-called “junk foods” in moderation, so that you don’t get any of the negative side effects of eating junk food, such as weight gain, cavities and more. But if you just can’t give up those vice foods that taste good but maybe aren’t so healthy, believe it or not there are healthy swaps you can add to your diet to make up for some of those foods that are dangerous to your body and your teeth.
Gummy snacks like fruit snacks, gummy bears and other gelatin-based foods may taste great, but they can wreak havoc on your dental work and stick to your teeth. All that sugar held on your teeth is bad news. It can feed the cavity-causing bacteria that live in our mouths, causing them to produce the acid that causes cavities.
But there are healthier foods you can swap out for gummies, like fruit leather, dried fruit and fresh fruit. While these foods all contain sugar, they are less gummy and will be less likely to stick to dental work. They can also be easily brushed away with regular toothpaste and a good old-fashioned toothbrush!
Chips are delicious, salty snacks, but they’re also loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol. If you still need a salty snack with a crunch, you’re in luck! There are alternatives, such as pretzels, salted or unsalted nuts, and fresh veggies like carrots, raw broccoli, celery and cauliflower. You can even dip them in peanut butter, hummus or another dip.
Bubblegum is another food that is similar to gummies in that it can stick to dental work and coat your teeth in sugar while you chew. If you love chewing gum but don’t want the cavities associated with it, switch to sugarless gum. Some sugarless gums even have whitening properties, and as an added bonus they neutralize plaque acid as you chew!
Many people don’t realize there is a lot of sugar in beverages – even healthy beverages like fruit juices and sports drinks, which are supposed to boost electrolytes for athletes. But believe it or not, these drinks really are packed in sugar, and can do a number on your teeth.
The alternative is diet soda (sparingly) and no-sugar-added juices, like fresh-squeezed orange juice. You can also dilute some extremely sweet juices like apple juice with water so that there’s less sugar (and calories) per serving. For sports drinks, be sure to alternate drinks with water so you are staying hydrated and keeping your teeth clean as you drink.
And speaking of water, don’t forget water is the best drink we can consume. We need it to survive, it has no calories and it’s great for our teeth!
Now that’s food for thought!