Snack time is a risky time for teeth. In the middle of the afternoon, when you feel a little hungry for something quick and easy to grab, making teeth-friendly decisions can help you protect your mouth against cavities!
Why Snacking is Riskier for Teeth than Meals
During a meal, your body produces a large amount of saliva to aid in the digestive process. The chewing motion and the flavors of the food stimulate a sustained release of saliva throughout the meal.
The problem with snacking is that we often take small bites and spread it out over a longer period of time compared to a focused meal time. The constant supply of food (even though the actual quantity may be smaller) and the intermittent chewing do not motivate as much saliva production.
Saliva is essential to fighting the cavity process. It neutralizes the pH inside the mouth, and it contains minerals that re-strengthen enamel. Without it, the teeth are far more susceptible to decay. This is why midnight snacking is so bad for you! Our bodies “turn off” saliva during the night so we don’t drool all over ourselves.
Why Most Snacks are Bad for the Teeth
Most quick-grab snacks are simple carbohydrates. Small crackers, chips, cookies, and sweets are small molecules called simple carbohydrates, which are easy for the cavity-causing bacteria to break down. They provide an efficient fuel source for the creation of cavities.
We know that it is tempting to keep grabbing a handful of chips or crackers. These simple carbs are not healthy for your teeth. The more processed or refined a “sugar” is, the higher the risk for cavities.
Good Snacks that are Teeth-Friendly
Avoiding simple carbohydrates during snack time will protect your teeth and lower your risk for cavities. Choosing snack options that are high in fats or proteins is best. Small snack packages of nuts and cheese are wonderful teeth-friendly treats.
You can also opt for complex carbohydrates, like raw vegetables. They are still “sugars”, but their complex molecular size makes it more difficult for the cavity-causing bacteria to digest. When you are snacking at a party, stick to the veggie tray, and you will keep your teeth healthy!
More Questions about Healthy Snack Options?
Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and Dr. Summer. They can answer any question you have about how various foods affect the teeth.