As stay-at-home orders continue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are snacking a bit more, especially sugary snacks. Whether you’re turning to junk food due to stress, boredom, or baking more and testing out your recipes, the added sugar can lead to decay and cavities. While we understand the desire to snack, our dentists in Cary and Holly Springs are sharing some simple swaps that will fulfill the snacking need without damaging your teeth.
Simple Snacks That Help Your Teeth
If you find yourself reaching for sugary foods because they’re quick or convenient, try some of these options instead that are just as simple and a lot better for you!
- Apple slices and carrot sticks – These “scrub” your teeth as you chew them, effectively removing build-up and actually helping rather than harming your teeth.
- Sugar-free yogurt – A low-sugar option and the calcium and phosphorus boosts enamel.
- String cheese or cheese cubes – Like the yogurt, this offers calcium and phosphorus that repairs enamel.
- Sugar-free gum – While it’s not a snack, necessarily, keeping your mouth busy may distract you from grazing on sugary snacks.
- Whole grain crackers – These have less starch than most other options so they are lower in sugars, plus the crunchy aspect can offer some “scrubbing” action.
- Nuts like almonds, peanuts, and cashews – With magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, these support dental health and fill you up so you’re not looking for something to nosh on an hour later.
If you absolutely must have something sweet, add a few dark chocolate chips to some mixed nuts, add some sliced banana to your yogurt, or add a bit of natural peanut butter to whole grain crackers.
Recipes for Good Dental Health
We’ve all seen how more people are turning to baking during the stay-at-home orders and our social media feeds are filled with images of cakes, cookies, and, of course, bread. If you’ve taken up baking (or gotten back into the habit of it with your new-found free time), try your hand at some new recipes that are a bit better for your teeth!
Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
While this isn’t baking, necessarily, it’s also getting hot, so now you don’t even have to turn on your oven. This simple, healthy recipe makes four good-size servings and is naturally sweetened by the fruit and vanilla so there’s no refined sugar:
- 4 frozen, sliced bananas
- 1 cup of frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Put everything into a blender or food processor and blend until it’s the texture of soft serve ice cream. Then, put it in a food storage container and freeze for four to five hours.
If you like to bake with your kids, this easy recipe is delicious and has minimal sugar. Plus, they’re completely customizable, so you can have some fun with them, and you can multiply the recipe to feed a crowd.
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 3/4 cup of quick cooking oats, these can be ground or left whole
Mash the bananas, stir in the oats, and put them on a greased cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350°F. Before placing them in the oven, you may want to flatten them slightly as they don’t “spread” like traditional cookies. Add in some cinnamon and raisins for oatmeal raisin cookies, add a tablespoon of peanut butter, or sliced almonds. Even a few chocolate chips won’t have nearly the amount of sugar as most cookies or even most breakfast cereals!
Other Baking Ideas
Instead of going for sweet recipes, try savory baking. Look for recipes for your own crackers, try baking sourdough bread or focaccia, or making tortilla chips. Use whole grains when you bake to minimize the simple starch content.
Avoiding Sugary Sipping
If being home has led to drinking more soda, juice, and sweetened beverages, that may be doing more damage than snacking on cookies or candy. Sodas, sweetened coffees, sweet tea, and juice not only have high amounts of sugar that you’re “bathing” your teeth in, they are also highly acidic, which eats through enamel creating a double whammy of possible tooth decay.
Instead, the best thing you can drink is water, but if you “have” to drink soda or other drinks, use a straw so much of it bypasses your teeth and you’re able to minimize exposure or rinse your mouth after drinking so the sugar and acids aren’t sitting on your enamel.
Maintain Your Dental Care
Even though you’re out of your routine, make sure you stick with your proper dental hygiene – brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and maintaining your bi-annual dental checkup and teeth cleaning. Even while it’s important to minimize going out, dental care is still a medical necessity, and it’s important to keep up with to avoid problems down the line.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Dentists in Cary
If it’s been longer than six months since your last cleaning, or you’ve experienced changes in your teeth, schedule an appointment at our dentist office in Cary, call 919-467-2203 or call our Holly Springs location at 919-600-6262 or simply fill out our form below to send us a message.