We are fortunate to live in a place where food is abundant and the variety of foods available to most of us is extremely plentiful. When it comes to snacks, some of the many, many options are really bad for your teeth, and some are actually pretty good for your teeth. Anything that is sugary, acidic, sticky (or the worst- all three!) is in the “bad” category. Let’s take a look at a few star picks for tooth friendly snacking :
Cheese. Cheese is a real winner for your teeth. Not only is it a great source of calcium and minerals that are beneficial to the teeth, but it is also anti-acidic to your chompers… it actually alkalizes the oral cavity. Studies have even shown that eating a bit of cheese after an acidic meal results in a healthier mouth pH.
Nuts and seeds. This one comes with a caveat: because nuts can be very hard, people have been known to break or crack teeth while just eating them. So use caution or go after softer nuts like walnuts, cashews, or pecans. Otherwise, nuts and seeds are not acidic or sugary and pretty low-risk from that perspective, and boast a healthy mineral content.
Celery. Celery is a wee bit acidic, but not drastically, and it is not sugary. The fibers in celery have the potential to give the teeth a bit of a scrub while you chew… all that chewing and fiber and saliva production can dislodge plaque from the teeth. Other raw veggies can also have this effect.
Meats. Meats are usually pretty low on those three factors that mark the un-tooth-friendliest snacks (sugary, acidic, sticky). Some meats and jerkys can tend to get stuck in between the teeth and some may have acidic seasonings or condiments.
The worst snack foods for the teeth? Fruit snacks and gummy snacks, dehydrated fruit, crackers and chips, snack cakes. The fruit snack and cakes are probably obvious, but if the crackers surprise you, then you may not realize that carbs act like sugars in the mouth, and crackers and chips actually tend to stick to the teeth really badly.
Some snacks are both bad and good for your teeth. Fresh fruits such as apples have natural sugars and acids that can compromise teeth, but they are also watery, tending not to stick, and contain fibers that are thought to help remove plaque and stuck on particles from the teeth while chewing. Have a bite of cheese after that apple, maybe?
Another thing to note: drinking water to rinse the mouth after snacking is a great idea, but don’t brush your teeth until about half an hour after snacking. Brushing while the enamel is temporarily softened due to consuming acids can actually make things worse for your teeth.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we love all kinds of snacks, and having the sweet stuff as an occasional treat is OK. But by reaching for the tooth-friendliest snacks most of the time, you will be doing your teeth a huge favor and keeping your smile in great shape! Happy snacking!