Did you know that November is National Peanut Butter Month? It's no surprise that the sticky stuff gets its own month of celebration: Statistica reported that 290.48 million Americans ate peanut butter in 2016. If you adore this sweet-and-salty treat, now's the time to show it some love … or perhaps, savor it one last time and then kiss it goodbye. Peanut butter may be a delicious snack that satisfies a sweet tooth, but it could be damaging your pearly whites more than you think.
Know the truth about peanut butter
Many believe that this American favorite is a healthy alternative for sweet snacks, especially when it's freshly ground. While it's certainly a better option than candy and cupcakes, there are two main reasons the stuff is bad for your teeth: its sugar content and sticky texture.
Sugar content - A basic jar of peanut butter from a popular brand contains about 1-2 grams of sugar per serving, which isn't a huge deal if you follow the recommended servings sizes, according to Nutrition Action. When you purchase the specialty butters, however, you're looking at roughly 11 grams of sugar per serving.
"A basic jar of peanut butter contains about 1-2 grams of sugar per serving."
Sticky texture - Beyond sugar content, you should be worried about how sticky peanut butter can be. When peanut butter sticks to your teeth, the sugars get stuck too. This is basically heaven for bad bacteria, as they thrive off sugar. When you let the peanut butter stick to your teeth, the bad bacteria energize and eat away at your enamel. Plus, the accumulation of sugar can lead to plaque buildup, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease on its own, according to Dental Patient News.
Eat peanut butter in moderation
It's not fair - nor realistic - to tell you to give up the stuff for good if you're a true peanut butter lover. Instead, just be more cognizant of how harmful it can be for your teeth, and learn to eat peanut butter in moderation. Whether you're pairing peanut butter with jelly on a sandwich, dipping into it with celery sticks or eating it with chocolate, just remember to drink water after you snack. This practice can help flush away the peanut butter and stop it from wreaking havoc on your teeth.
Keep up with your oral regimen
If you're feeling even more motivated to care for your mouth, take it a step further after you eat peanut butter by brushing with a high quality toothpaste and rinsing with an alcohol-free oral rinse to wipe out the effects of the delicious, gooey treat with ease. This will ensure your breath is fresh and your mouth is in top shape to prevent developing cavities and gum disease.
Keep these oral hygiene tips in mind beyond National Peanut Butter Month, as the holiday season is upon us. You'll likely eat more sweets and treats in the upcoming months, and your teeth deserve some TLC after surviving the dessert table.