You might already be aware of certain foods that you need to eat in order to lose weight: foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. However, did you know that what you eat affects more than just your waistline? According to a dentist in Medford, the foods and drinks you consume impact your oral health. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some healthy snacks to choose that benefit your teeth and gums.
Are Sugary Snacks Good for Your Teeth?
It probably comes as no surprise that since snacks high in sugar aren’t good for your general health, they don’t benefit your teeth either. When you consume something sugary, bacteria in your mouth feast on those sugars and leave behind an acidic waste product that destroys tooth enamel. This is actually what causes cavities. Because of this, you’ll want to keep your consumption of sugary products to a minimum.
How Do I “Snack Smarter” to Protect My Teeth from Cavities?
Before you indulge in a snack, ask yourself about its ingredients. Is it packed with sugar? If so, you might want to reconsider. Also, keep in mind that certain textures of foods are healthier than others. Chewy or sticky snacks linger on the surface of your teeth, bathing your teeth in sugar and giving bacteria plenty of time to wreak havoc.
Another thing to think about is how often you snack. Every time you eat or drink something sugary, damaging acids form on your teeth. It takes your saliva about 20 minutes to neutralize these acids, meaning your teeth are vulnerable until then. So, the more often you eat sugary snacks during the day, the more often you feed harmful oral bacteria, which increases your risk of developing tooth decay.
If you’re going to consume sweets, it’s much better to do so with or just after a meal. Saliva production increases during mealtimes, which naturally washes your teeth clean. If you can, brush your teeth or at least chew some sugar-free gum afterward.
What Are Some Examples of Mouth-Healthy Snacks?
There are a variety of healthy snacks out there to choose from, such as:
- Fresh fruits and raw vegetables: melons, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, grapes, apples, carrots, celery, broccoli, canned fruit in natural juices, unsweetened fruit juices.
- Grains: wheat bread, plain bagels, plain crackers, unsweetened cereals, baked (not fried) tortilla chips, pasta, plain crackers.
- Dairy products: low or non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese.
- Meat, nuts, and seeds: turkey, chicken, sliced meats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts.
The most important takeaway here is to check the ingredients of what you’re eating and drinking. Try and choose snacks that contain little or no added sugars to decrease your chances of getting cavities. And, as always, brush and floss your teeth after eating for good measure.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Giamberardino graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1985. He opened his private practice in Medford, MA full-time in 1993 and has never looked back and continues to deliver excellence in many areas of dentistry, including preventive care like sticking to a mouth-healthy diet. He has also achieved a Fellowship with the American College of Dentists. To learn more about which foods can best benefit your specific oral health, you can contact Dr. Giamberardino at (781) 396-3800.