Prevent Tooth Decay: 5 Alternatives to Candy
Resist the call of candy to prevent tooth decay.
If your teeth had a living nightmare, it would be candy. When it comes to propagating the growth of plaque and tartar on your teeth, candy, in all its sweet glory, is the queen.
The problem is so many of us, particularly our kids, have a love affair with candy. It may seem impossible to imagine giving up sweet goodies altogether, which prompts many people and parents to wonder if there are ways to satisfy their or their kids’ sweet tooth without indulging in the artificially sweet treats.
The good news is there are lots of great alternatives to candy that are healthier and also delicious. Let’s look at 5 of them here!
1. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is one of the easy alternatives to candy. It’s a handy snack to reach for, and while it does contain sugar, the vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other benefits of the fruit are still to be had. In fact, some fruits contain polyphenols, which actually help prevent oral diseases.
The sweetness of the fruit is often enough to satisfy a sugar craving, but be sure to stick with plain fruit. Some dried fruits have added sugar or are covered with a sugary coating to give them a sweet boost, but that extra sugar is unnecessary so stay away from that type.
Another thing to keep in mind is that dried fruit is sticky and can remain on your teeth for a long time after eating it. This can also contribute to tooth decay and cavities so consider serving water with the fruit or have your kids brush their teeth after the snack.
2. Sugarless Chewing Gum
When thinking about how much sugar your kids’ teeth are exposed to, don’t forget about chewing gum. Many types of chewing gum actually have a lot of sugar. Just imagine what is happening to your child’s teeth when they chomp on sugary chewing gum for a few hours.
However, there are alternatives to this candy so you don’t have to give up on this sweet treat or chewing gum. Choose sugarless chewing gum. It is made with xylitol, a sweetener extracted from fruits and vegetables that won’t speed tooth decay. In fact, chewing gum can be good for your oral health by strengthening the jaw and exercising your mouth overall.
Always read labels and keep an eye out for other hidden sources of sugar to help prevent tooth decay.
3. Low Sugar Veggie Desserts
Have you ever eaten cookie dough made from chickpeas and chocolate chips? How about a chocolate beet cake?
You may have heard about the cauliflower pizza craze going around, but what about the cauliflower dessert pizza? Baking veggies in desserts is a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone. First, you’ll be getting your kids to eat vegetables. Second, most of these recipes are made with less processed sugar but still satisfy the sweet tooth because of the natural sugar in the veggies.
4. Nice Cream
Did you know it is possible to make a sweet treat that tastes surprisingly like ice cream using no sugar? All you need is a blender or food processor and some frozen fruit!
Bananas make a great base, and you can use add-ins like chocolate, honey, coconut milk, or peanut butter to change up the flavor. You can also mix bananas with other frozen fruits like strawberries or mangos to make delicious summer treats without even a spoonful of sugar.
5. Fruit Leather
This one takes a bit of time, but the vast majority of it is hands-off. Simply blend up two to three cups of your favorite fruit with a couple of tablespoons of honey (or to taste) and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
Pour the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pop it in the oven on the lowest temperature or somewhere between 140 and 170 degrees F. After four to six hours, you’ll have a nice sheet of fruit leather your kids will love, and you can appreciate that it doesn’t have any added sugar!
Prevent tooth decay one candy alternative at a time.
Are you feeling inspired by these fantastic alternatives to candy? With a bit of creativity, there really are a ton of ways you can offer your kids sweet treats while keeping tooth decay at bay.
However, always remember that regular flossing and brushing are integral to good oral health, and there is no substitute for regular professional cleanings from the dentist.
Looking for a kid-friendly dentist in Nebraska? Don’t hesitate to set up your appointment today!