Every adult can remember their parents telling them as a child that eating too much candy will rot their teeth and leave them with a mouthful of cavities. And if you are a parent now yourself, you probably catch yourself citing this same statement to your own children. Certain types of candies are worse for your teeth than others, and the new buzz is all around a candy that can help in fighting cavities – yes, you read that right!
What’s a Zollipop?
A fourth-grade girl living in Michigan created Zollipops, a healthy lollipop. Unlike other lollipops on the market, Alina Morse’s lollipops are free of sugar, gluten, and GMO-free.
So how do they work?
By helping to balance out the PH levels in your mouth, which are one of the main causes in tooth decay and cavities. By using a non-traditional sweetener, Zollipops contain a natural alternative to sugar like stevia and xylitol.
Why Does Xylitol Sound Familiar?
You’ve probably heard your dentist or hygienist recommend chewing Xylitol gum to help reduce cavities and improve your overall oral health. Xylitol gum helps inhibit cavity-causing bacteria and is the perfect sweetener for chewing gum because the bacteria living on our teeth cannot digest it, releasing their hold on the surfaces of your teeth. Xylitol gum can also help remineralize teeth and help relieve dry mouth.
Is Xylitol Different Than Sugar-Free?
Most gums you will find at the check-out stand in the grocery store are in fact sugar-free; however, most of these sugar-free gums contain artificial sweeteners. Those artificial sweeteners are usually aspartame and acesulfame potassium, which are both considered safe by the FDA, however there are studies who have linked fake sugars to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Xylitol is a prebiotic that works to feed good bacteria and act as an anti-inflammatory, while traditional sugars have the opposite effect and feed inflammatory bacteria.
What Other Foods Can Improve My Oral Health?
Eating a balanced diet with certain nutrients and foods can help your mouth in fighting plaque buildup. To help fight bacteria in, focus on a diet that’s rich in:
Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Fiber
Foods with fiber have a detergent effect in your mouth, and also help to get your natural saliva flowing, decreasing harmful bacteria. These foods can help act as a natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Because your saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate, it also restores minerals to areas of your teeth that have lost them from bacterial acids from harmful foods. Some of these great food choices are:
- Sweet potatoes
Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, And Other Dairy
Cheese is another way to increase the saliva in your mouth. The calcium in cheese and the calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products help put back minerals your teeth might have lost from consuming other foods.
Green And Black Teas
Depending on the type of water you use to brew your tea, a cup of tea can be a source of fluoride, and tea contains polyphenols that interfere with plaque bacteria from holding onto the surfaces of your teeth.
Foods To Avoid
Eating certain foods invite tooth decay right into your mouth, leading to cavities. To keep your mouth in check, avoid:
- Sticky candies
- Sweets full of sugar
- Starchy foods that get suck in your teeth
- Dark colored liquids
Keep Up Your Oral Hygiene Routine
Remember, even if your diet is stellar, you will run into plaque buildup if you shirk on oral hygiene. Be sure to pair your smart eating with twice daily brushing, and daily flossing, and schedule regular dental exams. Having your teeth examined regularly will help to catch potential issues while they are still small, and inexpensive.
Can’t quite remember when your last cleaning was? Schedule a cleaning and exam with Dr. Phillippi at Smile Professionals today!