Brushing your teeth is important to your dental health, but so is limiting sugar consumption. Contact between plaque and sugar creates acid in the mouth which wears away the teeth’s enamel. Over time this can cause cavities and other serious health problems like gum disease. To prevent decay you don’t need to eliminate sugar from your diet completely.

Here are some tips on how to cut down on sugar consumption without getting rid of your sweet tooth:

Drink plenty of water. Our bodies need water to keep from dehydrating, plus it helps increase metabolic rates. Water can also help prevent tooth decay by washing away the excess sugars left in our mouths after eating sugary foods.

Limit snacking. If you must snack between meals, choose healthier options like fruits and nuts instead of cookies and candies. These will provide energy without the sugar crash and without as much damage to your teeth.

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to fight plaque. Keeping your teeth clean prevents build up of the bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Track what you eat. Today greater quantities of sugar are added to sodas, pastries, candies, and other snacks than ever before. Monitor your intake by keeping a food journal. It will give you an accurate idea of how much sugar you eat each day and where you can easily cut down and substitute for healthier foods.

Schedule checkups and cleanings. Regular professional cleanings are important for maintaining healthy teeth. Checkups can help catch cavities and tooth decay before they worsen and cause significant pain.

Sugary treats are okay to eat every once in a while, but excess sugar consumption is a major factor in tooth decay. Eating less sugar-added foods can keep your teeth healthy along with the rest of your body. Plus, when you choose tasty and healthier options over sugary foods, it isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. Start slowly and cut back on eating sugar-added snacks to keep your teeth healthy and your body happy.