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We generally do not make smart, healthy choices when snacking. Snacking usually occurs at a moment of weakness between meals at a moment of hunger between meals. This often means choosing a sugary snack which can have harmful effects on our dental health. Sugary snacks may taste great and be filling at the moment, but they are poor choices for our dental health and our overall health. Not only will the sugar lead to tooth decay, but it will effect our health 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 if you are to snack between meals.

How Sugars Attack Our Teeth

Our mouths are filled with natural bacteria that reside there all the time. The introduction of sugary and starchy foods into the mouth allows these bacteria to have a source of food. The byproduct of this feeding is the creation of an acidic environment in the mouth. The acids produced are powerful enough to break down the enamel (outer shell of our teeth) on our teeth. This breakdown of enamel is how tooth decay begins. If you simply choose to eat healthy foods, then your chances of exposure to these acids is reduced.

Smart Snacking

The key is to make smart choices when snacking. Before you grab for a snack, check what is in the food you have chosen. Is it chock full of sugar? If it is, think twice. Another choice would be better for your teeth. And it is important to remember that certain kinds of sweets are more harmful than others. Sweets that are chewy or gooey tend to spend more time sticking to the surface of your teeth. Because sticky snacks stay in your mouth longer than foods that you quickly chew and swallow, they increase the chance for the development of tooth decay.

The time of day that you snack is important also. Do you choose to nibble on sugary snacks at various points of the day, or do you usually just choose a small dessert following dinner? Damaging acids will form in your mouth every time you choose to eat a sugar filled snack. The acids continue to affect your teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm. So, the more times you eat sugary snacks during the day, the more often you feed bacteria the fuel they need to cause tooth decay.

If you eat sweets, it’s best to eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. Whenever you eat sweets — in any meal or snack — brush your teeth well with a fluoride toothpaste afterward. Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing following snacking will go along way towards helping reduce our risk for tooth decay.

Best Snacks For Good Dental Health

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

Whole Grains. This can include whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel bagels, baked tortilla chips, pretzels, plain bagels, 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 fresh turkey, deli meats (like Ham and Roast Beef), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and other unsweetened nuts.

Tips To Make Snacking Healthy

-Choose sugary foods less often

-Avoid sugary sweets between meals

-Timing Is Key. Avoid sweets between meals. If you do choose to snack between meals get in the habit of brushing and flossing following snacking to keep the acids  to a minimum

-Eat a variety of low or non-fat foods from the basic food groups

-Drink plenty of water during and after snacking

-Maintain Good Dental Hygiene. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after snacks and meals

Conclusion

Our dental health and overall health are intertwined. Making smart choices can have a positive effect on both our teeth and our bodies. Choose wisely and maintain good dental hygiene by seeing your dentist regularly to avoid issues of tooth decay and to maintain a happy, healthy smile for years to come.



Thanksgiving is a time for family, old and new friends, and loved ones to get together and enjoy a hearty meal. It is also a holiday that can be dangerous for your dental health. This is because a lot of what we eat during this time can be hazardous to our dental health. This can include stuffing, sugary treats like pies and cookies, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. These items are all carbohydrate rich, sugary foods. This can really do some damage to your oral health, but there are some simple ways you can help combat cavities while still enjoying Grandma’s pumpkin or pecan pie.

Thanksgiving Day Dental Health Tips

-Eat a Balanced Meal. Eat a meal with a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. This helps to counteract some of the acids produced when sugars and bacteria in the mouth come together. Also, some of the harder vegetables like raw carrots can act as a cleaning aid in your mouth as you chew. Hard vegetables can remove some of the excess food that sticks to your teeth.

-Limit your sweet, sticky foods. These can include pies, cookies, and stuffing. These foods tend to stick in the grooves of teeth and lodge between teeth, meaning they stay in the mouth longer and increase tooth decay risk.

-Do not Graze!! This might be one of the most important ones listed here. Not only will you allow these bad food items to stay in your mouth longer but you will not allow your saliva to neutralize. The acidic levels in the saliva will remain all day, allowing bacteria to destroy surface enamel without interference.It’s easy to spend all day just walking around a party eating snacks and drinking, but every time you put something into your mouth, it creates acids. Spend some time NOT eating on Thanksgiving day to cut down on the buildup of cavity causing foods.

-Come Prepared. If you are going away from home for your thanksgiving dinner bring a travel toothbrush with you even if you are just away for the day. If you are unable to brush your teeth immediately after eating for some reason? Rinse your mouth out with water to remove as much debris and neutralize the acid as much as possible. Also, bring some floss and floss following your meal as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

By following these simple holiday dental care tips, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy while still enjoying your Thanksgiving favorites.