Do you eat snacks that are good for your teeth? Maybe you focus on whole-body health, but neglect to consider the effect certain foods can have on your tooth enamel and gums. If you do not pay attention to your teeth, decay may set in and negatively affect your oral health as well as your general health.
The Dangers of Sugar
Identifying harmful foods is the first step in preventing tooth decay. In many cases, snacks that are damaging to your teeth contain a lot of sugar, such as candy, pastries and other forms of dessert. Sugar can also be consumed in liquid form, such as in soft drinks or fruit juices. Additionally, starchy foods like crackers or pretzels can also harm your tooth enamel. Starch is usually made of simple carbohydrates which break down into sugar when left behind in your mouth, and this sugar feeds bacterial growth. When daily brushing and flossing does not entirely eradicate the sugars, bacteria and acid begin eating away at the enamel.
Ideal Healthy Snacks for Your Teeth
The best snacks for your teeth have limited sugar and starch, contain vitamins and minerals and have a high water content. Raw vegetables such as carrot sticks or celery are smart choices. Fruit is ideal as well. Even though many fruits contain a lot of sugar, they are usually composed of enough water to encourage saliva production and remove the lingering sugary film from the surface of your teeth.
Dairy products are also good for your dental health, given the high amount of calcium and vitamin D ingested, which both contribute to tooth enamel’s regeneration. Consider purchasing snack-sized cheese sticks or yogurt in a convenient serving size for a healthy afternoon snack.
Post-Meal Tooth Care Recommendations
In general, the American Dental Association suggests minimizing snacks between meals because the more often your teeth are exposed to sugars, the more likely bacteria will grow and acid will inflict damage. If you do regularly snack between meals, drink water immediately after to wash off teeth. Wait for at least 20 minutes before brushing your teeth post-snack, as brushing too early may only aggravate the acids, causing further damage to the enamel. It may also help to chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production, which may also assist in rinsing the teeth. Brushing after every meal is recommended, along with flossing once per day.
Make an appointment for a dental exam with the professional team at Oak Hills Dentistry, and get our recommendations for snacks that are good for your teeth.