If you are serious about looking after your teeth then it’s not nearly good enough to just brush regularly and visit the dentist from time to time – you also need to think about what you are going to eat and your diet, and you need to make sure that you don’t eat too much that’s going to stain your teeth or cause the proliferation of bacteria.

But the bad news is that all those things you aren’t supposed to touch are the nicer parts of our diet – the treats and the comfort food and the things we crave. It’s sugary snacks that causes plaque to be formed, and that means chocolate, candy, cake and basically all of the guilty pleasures in life. Here we will look at how to stick to such a diet and how to make sure you limit your intake of sugars and don’t fall victim to your cravings.

Change Your Thinking: One strategy that many people use to limit their intake of sugar is to take cues from ‘CBT’ – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – and to aim to change their thinking so that their habits follow suit. For instance you can accomplish this by simply repeating phrases that you want to believe – for instance then next time you find yourself craving chocolate or cake you would just tell yourself ‘but I don’t like cake’ and try focussing on the sweetness and how sick and guilty you often feel afterwards. By doing this you can start to change your perception of those sugary snacks and this way actually genuinely stop wanting them.

Have an Alternative: Unfortunately though eating pudding can be a habit and it can be a social thing. When everyone else at a restaurant is ordering cake you won’t want to look like the bore by saying no thanks, but you can get around this problem if you have a suitable alternative to eat instead. For instance at a restaurant try having a big coffee instead of cake, and when it’s desert time at home with your partner have a stock of yogurt drink or fruit in the fridge you can choose from.

Keep Your Energy Up: Often though choosing to eat chocolate or cake is not a matter of hunger or craving, but actually an emotional impulse that comes from feeling ‘low’ or ‘drained’. This is when we say we want comfort food and something that can act as a pick-me-up like a lovely warm sponge cake. First of all then having a good alternative to cake then can help a lot because you might find that a warm tea or a bowl of cereal is just as comforting.

More important though is to avoid feeling this way in the first place, and there are many ways you can avoid that – by getting enough sleep for instance, by removing stressors and strains in your daily life, and by making sure to have a good breakfast filled with complex carbs before you start your day. Doing all this can ensure that your blood sugar stays at a constant level and that you don’t then get the urge to replenish it with cakes.

Dr.Philip Morrison is a well known pediatric dentist in Mission Viejo,California.