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Controlling the Urge to Snack Can Be Good For Your Teeth!

June 07, 2011 | Posted in Education | Be the first one to comment

Making the right choices with the food we eat is beneficial on so many levels. But just because the snack you choose is otherwise healthy, do not assume it is always good for your teeth!

The fact is that even healthy snacking can cause tooth decay! The choice is not always what you are eating. When you are eating it and how often are also relevant considerations.

The reality is that most foods, even healthy ones, contain some sugar and/or starches. When these foods come into contact with the bacteria we routinely have in our mouths, they will begin a reaction that produces acid. This can cause acid erosion of the teeth.

Some foods, including healthy fresh fruit choices, are notorious for having a high acid content. The higher the acidic level in the food, the greater the likelihood that you could experience acid erosion if you consume that food too often.

That brings up one of the points. Frequent snacking can be detrimental to the health of your teeth! Every time an acid producing food is consumed, you place your teeth at risk.

And it is not as if the acid build-up will be short lived. In fact, your teeth become susceptible to the effects of acid erosion for as long as 20 or 30 minutes after you have finished your snack! That is a long period of time in which a significant level of damage can occur.

You might think you can curb the effects by brushing right after your snack. However, brushing at that time could cause more damage. When your mouth is in the midst of an acid build-up, the enamel is temporarily softer. Brushing at that time could cause further damage to the enamel, wearing down your defenses to the acid you are trying to protect against!

Obviously we are not suggesting you refrain from brushing. Just keep in mind that when you brush can be very important to the health of your teeth!

And so too can how often you snack. If you are the type of person who keeps snacks in the desk at work and nibbles a little bit all day, you may be constantly exposing your teeth to the forces of acid erosion.

A wiser course of action would be to plan your snacks in conjunction with meal schedule. Your snacks should obviously be healthy and we are not suggesting you make them so large as to dramatically increase your caloric intake.

But snack sizes should be sufficient to fill you up to the next meal. You do not want to fall into the trap of constantly eating small snacks all day, thereby maintain high levels of acid in your mouth.

If you are noticing unusual sensitivity in your mouth, talk to your dentist. It just may be that your snack schedule is compromising the health of your teeth!

In the meantime, keep in mind that healthy eating habits can include what and when you eat. So take the time to plan both. Because planning your meals is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Wayne Perron

Dental Surgeon

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