How Snacking Affects Oral Health

A dentist holding dental instruments and a girl covering her mouth with her hands.

At Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentist, we want to ensure that our patients are living a healthy lifestyle, protecting their oral health, and consistently practicing a good oral hygiene routine. By doing so, you will keep cavities and other oral health conditions at bay. However, even with the healthiest lifestyle, there are some habits that can affect your oral health like snacking.

How Cavities Form in the First Place

In order for a cavity to form, two things must be present in your mouth: bacteria and sugar. Our mouths naturally house a number of different types of bacteria, some good and some bad. The bad bacteria feed on sugar and break it down into acid which causes tooth decay. Sugar is introduced through the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Although brushing and flossing helps remove bacteria from our teeth, if we aren’t eating foods low in sugar, we may not be able to prevent the majority of our cavities.

Why is Snacking Bad?

What we eat and drink affects our dental health the most. The majority of patients already know that sugary foods can cause dental cavities. These may include foods and drinks like soda, candy, and desserts. Unfortunately, there are many healthy foods that can also cause cavities. If a food or drink can be broken down into a sugary substance then it can contribute to tooth decay. Foods you may not expect to cause cavities include grains, fruits, and dairy. When we enjoy these foods, the bacteria in our mouths break them down into acid which eventually eats away at the enamel on our teeth.

Our Research Triangle pediatric dentistry wants to remind you that even though these foods are healthy, they shouldn’t be eaten constantly throughout the day. In fact, snacking is another dietary habit that can lead to tooth decay. For example, if you constantly snack on citric fruits or drink many cups of coffee with milk throughout the day, you are continually exposing your teeth to sugar. Instead, avoid snacking, drink more water throughout the day, and eat foods low in sugar at set meals.

Better Snack Options

At our pediatric dentistry in the Research Triangle, we understand that sometimes snacks are necessary, especially for small children. Instead of choosing snacks high in sugar or processed snacks, choose healthy snacks that will help prevent cavities. Fruits low in sugar that will help “scrub” away bacteria like apples and pears are always a great option. Additionally, crunchy vegetables like celery, carrots, cucumber, and broccoli are also great snack options for children and adults.

Schedule Your Next Appointment with Our Pediatric Dentistry in the Research Triangle!

If you are worried about cavities and snacking throughout the day, schedule an appointment for a dental check up today! Contact Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry.