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Sweets That Save Your Teeth

Sweets That Save Your Teeth

When it comes to sweets, not all of them help your dentist buy a third home in Cabo San Lucas. Sweet, delicious dates may leave holes in his schedule, not your teeth.

That's right: These candies from nature have one up on chocolate kisses and gobstoppers: They have a substance that may help strengthen tooth enamel and guard against plaque. Dates are rich in the element fluorine, which sounds like what it is -- a relative of fluoride, that enamel-friendly compound that can actually help reverse early tooth decay.

Raisins may also save you from extra trips to the dentist. Phytochemicals in these fruits appear to inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria that mess with your mouth, and they help prevent it from sticking to teeth.

Try tossing chopped dates or raisins into your morning oatmeal or over your salad, or just enjoy their natural sweetness as a snack. Bonus: They also provide you with fiber, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. You can't get that from a candy store!

Still, any tooth-friendly eating habits still need to be accompanied by no-excuses oral care. That means regular brushing for 2 minutes every morning and night, and, of course, flossing. When you don't floss, you miss cleaning 40% of each tooth. Dentists consider flossing even more crucial for preventing tooth decay and periodontal disease than brushing is, and it may even help prevent heart disease. We think they're both important: The combination of regular brushing and flossing can make your RealAge more than 6 years younger.

(Follow these three simple steps to healthier teeth and gums.)

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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