Have you ever wondered what general dentistry professionals think about how snacking affects your dental health? Snacking in between meals is a great way to refuel your body and keep you going until your next meal.
However, many people substitute snacks for meals, which can be bad for your teeth. In general dentistry, there is a belief that frequent snacking does as much damage to your teeth as eating candy or drinking sodas.
Why is snacking so bad for your teeth?
For general dentistry practitioners, snacking is considered to be bad for your teeth because anytime you snack on sugary or starchy foods, the sugar and starch combined with the bacteria in your mouth to form acids that wear down your enamel.
When your enamel is weakened, the structure of your teeth becomes compromised as important minerals are leached out of the tooth leading to soft areas know as tooth decay. If the cavities in your teeth are left unchecked, they will grow in size and eventually infect the tooth's nerve, which can be very painful. Untreated tooth decay ultimately leads to tooth loss.
What should I do if I need to snack?
Even though constant snacking can be bad for your oral health, you can still enjoy some of your favorite snacks as long as you do so in moderation. If you find you need to snack in between meals, fuel your body with healthy food choices, such as nuts, and foods that are self-cleansing such as apples, carrots, and celery. Avoid sticky, processed foods loaded with carbohydrates that tend to stick in your teeth after eating.
If you want to protect your teeth, you will also have to practice good oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. If you find you need to snack often, carry a tooth brush and tooth paste with you, or better yet, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash after eating. This will help mechanically remove debris off of your teeth, and the fluoride will help to rebuild the minerals lost from the acid attack on your teeth.
Limiting your snacking
There are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of snacking you do each day, helping to protect your teeth. Some of the most popular techniques used to reduce snacking in general dentistry include:
- Eating breakfast: It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a lot of people skip breakfast, opting for alternatives to snack on. If you eat a big meal for breakfast every day, your body gets fueled and your appetite is curbed, meaning you are likely to eat fewer snacks
- Drink water: Drinking water helps to hydrate your body and helps you feel less fatigued. Water is also a better alternative to any soda or sugary drink because it does not damage your teeth as sugary drinks do
- Eat less sugar: If you want to eat a snack, try avoiding sugary snacks and processed foods
- Have a healthy diet: A balanced diet is very important to your general and oral health, which is why you should eat a lot of healthy food, fruits and vegetables to help you maintain a balance
Snacking is bad for your teeth because many snacks have plenty of sugar and carbohydrates, and the frequency of snacking leads to continual acid attacks on your teeth. If you want to learn more about the negative effects of snacking on your teeth, talk to your dentist to understand how snacking affects your teeth.
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