Your Dental Health and Snacking Between Meals effects your dental health. Does a light breakfast have your stomach grumbling mid-morning? Are you turning to the vending machine for an afternoon pick-me-up? Snacking is inevitable some days. But did you know that snacking may increase your risk for tooth decay? The reasons are two-fold:
1. Each time you eat, there is essentially an acidic attack on your tooth enamel. The acid is produced by the bacteria on your teeth that feast on food debris. This acidic product is what eats away at tooth enamel over time, eventually forming a tooth cavity.
2. When we snack, we tend to snack on convenient, unplanned-for food items. Processed, packaged chips, crackers, and sweets tend to be major contributors to tooth decay.
With a little extra planning and prep, you can bring along between-meal snacks that are much better for your body and your teeth:
- Fresh fruit – Crisp fruit like apples and pears cause you to produce saliva, which washes away decay-causing debris. Blueberries and strawberries are high in vitamins and minerals, which is great for oral health.
- Whole nuts – Nuts are high in “good fats” and protein.
- Yogurt or cheese – stave off hunger with high-protein, high-fat dairy snacks. Plus the calcium is good for your teeth and your body.
By eating healthy, you can reduce the tooth harm done by between-meal snacking.