We know it’s October, and we don’t really want to talk about it, but the holidays will soon be here. We already know one of the biggest fall favorites is Halloween, coming at the end of this month. Your dentist in Columbia knows that this is the time of year when it seems like every store is overflowing with sugary sweets and delectable treats. Just one look at that bag of Snickers and your mouth is watering.
Stopping your cravings dead in their tracks is the best way to avoid overdoing it with sweets. After all, we know that sugar is the biggest culprit when it comes to cavities and decay – two things we always want to avoid. Let’s take a quick look at some easy ways you can stop your sweet cravings and help your smile stay healthy.
Distractions, Distractions, Distractions
When you’re battling a craving for candy or cakes, one of the biggest tools you can use is distractions. There’s gotta be something powerful enough to take your mind off of consuming all that unhealthy sugar. Why not give these suggestions a try?
1) Meditate for at least ten minutes to clear your mind.
2) Open the door and take a nice, brisk walk outside.
3) Take a shower or a hot bath.
4) Try getting lost in a good book or TV show (no sugary snacks allowed).
The point here is to find something to take your mind off of the fact that it wants unhealthy, sugar-filled snacks. After all, it’s your brain that’s responsible for these types of cravings, not your body. Your brain wants to feel the happiness surge of dopamine related to eating sweet treats.
Make Your Own “Sweet” Combinations
You might find this hard to believe, but there are healthy options out there that can satisfy the most serious sweet tooth. Sure, they’re not the same as a gooey, salted caramel brownie bite, but you’re better off eating healthy now, so that you’re not in trouble with your teeth or your overall health down the road. Create something that’s going to end your craving with a healthy, even helpful outcome.
Are you a self-confessed chocolate-lover? Your Columbia dentist suggests trying fruit dipped in chocolate or creating a unique trail mix complete with nuts and your favorite chocolate chips. If you do this instead of eating candy, you’re a true snack rockstar who’s learned how to satisfy cravings while also getting healthy nutrients your body needs. Now, that’s sweet!
Stop Stressing and Sleep Right
This one is important for when the holidays really kick into gear later this fall. When you’re stressed or not getting enough sleep, your whole body (even your mouth) will suffer. Studies show that we change what kinds of foods we purchase when we’re overly tired, too! Researchers found that an increase in hormone levels contributed to us wanting to buy foods that are high in calories and sugar. Both our bodies and brains crave the rewards of unhealthy foods when we get less than seven hours of sleep each night. When you’re feeling tired or rundown, it’s easy to gravitate towards foods that are not-so-healthy and filled with sugar. Getting the right amount of rest should help ward off cravings, restore your clarity, and the ability to make healthy diet choices.
Just like when you’re a sleepless zombie, being crazy stressed is just as bad for your diet. Excess stress leads to cravings for things that we know aren’t good for our oral and overall health. Fighting these urges when you’re stressed and tired can be a big battle. Remember to relax and do your best to stay mindful and in the moment each day.
If you liked what you read here and want to know more, call or email our dental office in Columbia. We’re happy to help you feel and look your very best, starting with a healthy smile.