We brush our teeth to scrub away the plaque that builds up throughout the day. Plaque is a film of bacteria that builds on our enamel and is the main cause of tooth decay. The bacteria feeds and grows off of sugars you eat like sucrose, then produces acids, which wears down the enamel. The frequency that we eat sugar affects our teeth more than the quantity. It’s not that we need to cut sugar out of our diet completely, but by cutting back where we can, we’ll have healthier teeth.
Drink More Water
To reduce sugar cravings, remember to drink your water! When you’re hydrated, your body quickly metabolizes the glucose you eat into energy. But, when you’re dehydrated, this process slows down significantly. Since it takes a longer time for the glucose to be metabolized into energy, your body will crave sugar because it needs energy. The best way to speed up this process is just by drinking water! Plus, if you’re dehydrated, you’re probably not making tons of saliva, which helps wash bacteria out of your mouth. Stay hydrated and not only will you not crave sugar, but you’ll wash out bacteria too.
Get Better and More Sleep
Our bodies need 4 things to survive: oxygen, food, water, and sleep! Without sleep, our bodies cannot regulate hormones, recover, or rest efficiently. It’s absolutely incredible what better sleep will do when it comes to avoiding sugar cravings. When under-rested, our body produces more ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry. If you find yourself craving your favorite sugary snack, think about how much sleep you’ve gotten. You might just need a nap over the snack.
Eat More Protein
Eating more proteins and fats can help curb sugar cravings because you will feel full longer. Proteins and fatty foods are typically better for oral health in general. The pH is higher, so the acid will not break down the enamel overtime, and the bacteria in plaque that feeds off of sugars will not grow as much.
Find Better Substitutes
Limiting sugar cravings does not mean you have to cut it out of your diet completely. While soda is not great for oral health because of its acidity and sugar content, you can find some better alternatives to put into your refrigerator so you’re not always reaching for that soda. Zero sugar gatorades, flavored waters, flavor adding packets, and other low-calorie substitutes will keep your mouth’s pH in a better place and reduce sugar intake.