Healthy Snacks That Are Great for Your Teeth
At Westmount Dental Centre, our philosophy is “patients come first.” Your smile is important to us and whatever your age and dental issue, we’ll work hard to take care of you. Our Edmonton dentists are often asked about diet and its effect on oral care.
In today’s world, the phrase “healthy snack” has led to a lot of confusion, especially when it comes to oral care. Sugary foods that we all love to eat – candies, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods – have been shown to cause tooth decay without a proper oral health routine to mitigate the damage. We are constantly exposed to many different kinds of sugar every day, including table sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose). Starchy snacks can also break down into sugars once they’re in your mouth.
When you put sugar in your mouth, the natural bacteria in your mouth (a sticky material called plaque on the surface of the teeth) gobble up the sweet stuff and turn it into acids. These acids are powerful enough to dissolve the hard enamel that covers your teeth. That’s how cavities get started. The acids continue to affect your teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm.
We’ve all heard that eating smaller meals more often is also good for our health so what we need to do is make smarter choices about the foods we chose to snack upon. Think about when and how often you eat snacks.
If you snack during the day, choose something without a lot of sugar or fat. There are lots of tasty, filling snacks that are less harmful to your teeth, and the rest of your body. Choices like raw vegetables, fresh fruits, whole-grain crackers or bread, low or non-fat dairy products, as well as meat, nuts and seeds are smart choices.
Foods such as pizza, breads, and hamburger buns may also contain sugars. Check the label to identify sugars and fats on the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods. Keep in mind that brown sugar, honey, molasses, and syrups also react with bacteria to produce acids, just as refined table sugar does.
To help control the amount of sugar you consume, choose your foods wisely and remember, a poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, so:
- Choose sugary foods less often and avoid sweets between meals
- Eat a variety of low or non-fat foods from the basic food groups
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals
Even some fresh fruits, if eaten in excess, may promote tooth decay. Try to finish your breakfast, lunch or dinner with a little cheese or milk as these products help cut down on the acid in your mouth.
Your Edmonton DentistsAt Westmount Dental Centre, we’re here to ensure you keep your smile with general, cosmetic, emergency, and children’s dentistry in Edmonton and the surrounding area. If you have questions or concerns about your diet or oral health, call Westmount Dental Centre in Edmonton at 780-454-1269 today to set up an appointment.