February is National Snack Month. Learn how snacking affects your teeth and tips for better snacking during your day. Call Young Family Dental to learn more about safeguarding your smile.
Quarantine Triggered More Snacking in 2020
If you feel like you have been snacking more lately, you are not alone. A recent poll from the National Institute of Health reported that a high percentage of individuals started snacking and eating more during COVID-19 isolation and quarantine. Stress, boredom (70 percent), anxiousness all were factors contributing to the change in eating habits.
“A survey by OnePoll on behalf of Nutrisystem, found that 76 percent of respondents shared they’ve gained up to 16 pounds during their time in self-isolation,” reported Fox News.
But snacking doesn’t just present a threat to your waistline. Consistent snacking can wreak havoc on your teeth as well.
Snacking and Your Teeth: What Happens?
Your tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body. Still, when it is bombarded by food acids all day, it can weaken. (Bacteria in your mouth increase the acidity of your mouth after you eat/snack.) Snacking sounds harmless, but it weakens that stronger-than-bone tooth structure. It slowly erodes your tooth enamel until you have tooth decay, gingivitis, or other oral health issues.
Tips for Snacking Well
When it comes to choosing snacks, avoid snacks that are sugary, sticky, or acidic in nature. These types of snacks linger in the mouth and can cause more damage. Consider the following snacks to safeguard your teeth:
- Carrots, celery, and apples: The texture of these crunchy snacks give teeth an extra brush.
- Cheese, yogurt, and plain nuts: Because these snacks are high in calcium and phosphorus, they help to repair tooth enamel.
- Rice cakes with hummus or sugar-free peanut butter.
Fruit gummies are one of the number one snacks to avoid because they cling to the teeth. Lollipops, sugar-coated breakfast cereals and cookies are also snacks to avoid as are carbonated drinks and sodas. Sodas are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel.
Young Family Dental can help you learn more about safeguarding your smile. Call us today for a consultation. In the meantime, here are other tips for helping to protect your teeth from snacks/treats include:
- Use a straw: Helps to reduce the amount of contact acids have with teeth.
- Avoid snacking at bedtime: Saliva levels drop in the evening so late-night snacking is more harmful.
- Chew sugar-free gum following snacks/meals: This helps to rid your mouth of food particles that can get trapped in the mouth after eating.
- Brush teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste: Cleaning the mouth and teeth from tooth particles is essential for protecting teeth from tooth decay.
- Floss once a day: This helps remove food particles that get trapped between teeth.
- Be intentional with when you brush: Wait about a half an hour after eating before you brush to the saliva can rid your mouth of sugars. When you brush too soon, your toothbrush rubs the sugars/acids into your teeth.
- Reach for dairy: Having milk or cheese after sweets helps to readjust oral pH helping to protect your teeth from decay.
Take Extra Care for Children’s Teeth – They Are More Susceptible to Decay
Parents, children’s teeth need even more care when it comes to snacking and nutrition. Limit the frequency of snacks and their sugar content. Sugar-free is best unless the snacks are enjoyed right after a meal and eaten in a short space of time. The best drinks for children are milk, unsweetened tea, and water. Fluoride mouth rinses can help remineralize teeth. Talk to Young Family Dental about how to incorporate them into your daily oral hygiene routine with your child.
Call for a Dental Health Consultation Today
Tooth decay prevention strategies can save you time, money, and discomfort. Call or visit any of our five Utah dental offices in West Jordan, Riverton, American Fork, Saratoga Springs or Orem and schedule a personal consultation with one of our dentists to establish a successful home plan based on your specific needs.
CALL US TODAY TO LEARN MORE!