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When it comes to snacking, we do not always make the right choices. In moments of weakness and hunger we often opt for a sugary snack.  It may give us a bit of energy to

Dental Health Marielaina Perrone DDS

Make Good Snacking Choices For Your Dental Health!

get through our day, or just be a comfort during stress. Sugary snacks may taste great, but they are poor choices for our teeth and our bodies. Not only will the sugar cause tooth decay, but it will effect us negatively in other ways as well. Sugar causes you to “carb crash”, making you feel tired after the sugar high wears off, makes your body need to over produce insulin, dries your mouth out, and can allow us to gain significant amounts of weight if we are not careful. Smart choices are the key.

What Happens In Our Mouth When We Eat Sugar?

Our mouth is full of various bacteria. When sugary and starchy foods are introduced into the mouth the bacteria feed on the remains. The byproduct of this “feeding” is the production of acid. This acid over time will break down the enamel of our teeth leading to tooth decay. If you simply choose to eat healthy foods, then your chances of exposure to these acids is reduced.

The key is to make smart choices when snacking. There are many types of snacks out there and not all are bad for us. Certain sweets are worse than others. These include the gooey and chewy sugary snacks, and the sour gummy type candies. The reason these snacks are so much worse is that they stick to the surface of the teeth lasting in the mouth and on the enamel far longer than other types of sugary snacks, the sour gummies also contain high acid along with the sticky sugars..

The time of day is also important. Snacking late at night, or just before bedtime will allow the sugar to remain in your mouth overnight.As your mouth dries out, saliva production and bacteria clearance decrease dramatically. A dry mouth with sugar residue will put you at an increased risk for tooth decay.

Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing following snacking will go along way towards helping reduce our risk for tooth decay.

Best Snacks For Dental Health

-Fresh fruits and raw vegetables. The fruits can include oranges, melons, and pears. While the vegetables can include broccoli, celery, cucumbers, and carrots.

-Whole Grains. This can include whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel bagels, baked tortilla chips, wheat crackers with cheese, and even some unsweetened cereals.

-Milk and dairy products. This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

-Meat, nuts and seeds. This can include turkey, deli meats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and various unsweetened nuts.

Dental Health Marielaina Perrone DDSSnacking Tips For Good Dental Health

Let’s be honest with ourselves, snacking is a part of who we are. Snacking in moderation along with good dental hygiene will keep our teeth healthy as well as keep our weight down so we can be healthier overall. A few key tips:

Snack Wisely. Make the right choice more often than not. Get in the habit of choosing good snacks that are beneficial to our teeth and bodies. Avoiding sugar when possible. Drink lots of water during and after snacking.

Time Your Snacking. Avoid sweets between meals. If you do choose to snack between meals get in the habit of brushing and flossing following the snack to keep the acids at bay.

Variety. Mix up your snacking to ensure we get a good baalnce of nutrition into our bodies.

Maintain Dental Hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals. If you cannot brush and floss right away, vigorously rinse your mouth with water a few times to try to wash away some of the sugar from our mouths as well as counteract the acids.

Conclusion

The bottom line is to choose your snacks wisely. Your health as well as your children’s depends upon it. Many snacks are better for children simply because they have the ability to promote growth and development. Be aware that many “healthy” foods if overindulged in, without maintaining good dental hygiene, can still cause tooth decay. Adults and children need to get in the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing following snacking and having a meal. Your teeth and body will thank you for it in the long run.



Flossing is one of those things that everyone knows they should do but probably do not do regularly or correctly. Flossing, along with brushing is one of the most important things you can do to keep your smile healthy. Flossing is a simple 1-2 minute activity that is recommended to after meals. Once it becomes part of your routine it becomes an easy habit to keep. Everyone should floss at least once a day. The most important time of day to floss is before bedtime. When you sleep, saliva flow slows down and if food is left in between teeth, bacteria have a solid 8 hours to break teeth down with their acids without worry of being rinsed away by saliva.

Signs You are Not Flossing Properly?

-Bleeding gums upon brushing or flossing. If your gums are bleeding when brushing or flossing you have a form of periodontal disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible once you are regularly brushing, flossing, and go for regular professional cleanings. If the supporting tissues surrounding your teeth begin to breakdown then you have a more advanced form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is not reversible without intervention.

-Build up of plaque and food debris along gum line and between teeth. Flossing is able to reach areas that brushing alone can not reach. Lack of flossing will lead to tooth cavities in between teeth (also called interproximal decay). A good tip is to use a disclosing solution before brushing and flossing. It will color your plaque a color like bright purple. This will give adults and children a good visual to see what areas they might be missing.

Flossing the proper way

Flossing – The Proper Technique

Proper Flossing Technique

-Start with about 18-24 inches of floss. Then wind a good portion of the floss around each middle finger. Make sure to leave an inch or two of floss to use for the actual flossing of your teeth.

-Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up and down between your teeth. Do not shoeshine side to side as you can wear notches into the teeth over time. Some teeth with tight contacts may be difficult to floss thru. Try using a thinner Teflon type of floss such as Glide. Be diligent and make sure to get in between the tight spaces.

-Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth one by one. It is important to ensure you go below the gumline. Never try to snap the floss in between the teeth as this may injure the gum tissues.

-Make sure to use clean sections of floss as you advance around your mouth.

-To remove the floss, use the same up and down movement to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.

Best Types Of Floss

Depending upon your particular needs, there are many types of floss to choose from:

-Dental tape is great for teeth with space between,

-woven yarn floss is for periodontal problem areas,

-thin Teflon floss is for tight contacting teeth,

-fluoride floss is for people who are prone to cavities between teeth,

-Stain removing floss is for smokers and heavy tea/ coffee drinkers,

-all in one or threader floss is for flossing under bridgework.

Any flavor or type of floss that you feel comfortable using and use regularly is fine.

What if I find it hard to floss properly?

Let’s face it, flossing requires dexterity and work for all of us. Under some conditions or even as we age, we may lose some of our natural dexterity. This does not give you a free pass to avoid flossing. There are various aids on the market to deal with this problem. The most popular of these products are called flossers. They allow anyone to floss

Flosser - Reach Access

Flossing Using the Reach Access Flosser

their teeth easily with little to no effort.

-Wishbone type flossers- allow you to wind your own floss onto the holder, maneuver into position, floss.

-Reach access flossers- come with pre- threaded disposable floss ends, even easier to use than the previous type, just bite down, it snaps between the teeth, floss.

-disposable small plastic handled floss, (usually come in a large bag of 100 or so)

-Hummingbird, electric type flosser

There you have it, an easy guide to flossing to help maintain your oral hygiene and your smile for years to come!