A Word From Dental Hygienist Beth: Smart Snacking = Healthy Teeth
What’s wrong with sugary snacks?
Sugary snacks are so yummy to eat – but they aren’t good for your teeth, or your body. Candies, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods can cause tooth decay, but what you may not know is that starchy snacks like potato chips can also break down into sugars once they’re in your mouth.
How do sugars attack your teeth?
Bacteria live in your mouth in plaque on the surface of the teeth. When you eat sugars, the bacteria take the sugar and turn it into acids. These acids attack the enamel on your teeth. That’s how cavities begin. If you don’t eat much sugar, the bacteria can’t produce as much of the acid that destroys enamel.
How can I protect myself from cavities?
Before you choose a snack, ask yourself what’s in the food that you’ve chosen. Is it filled with sugar? If it is, make a better choice! Chewy foods stick to your teeth and stay in your mouth longer than foods that you can quickly chew and swallow; they give your teeth a longer “acid attack.” Acid attacks can last as long as 20 minutes. This means that the more times you put sugar in your mouth during the day, the more often you fuel bacteria that cause cavities.
Right after you eat sugars … in any meal or snack … brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. And, the next time you are about to eat that cookie, eat a handful of nuts instead!