Every day we are faced with dietary decisions. Some people struggle with weight more than others while some can eat anything they want and not have a worry. But do you ever think about what you are eating every day and how it can affect your teeth? Probably not. In our office we often discuss what you are drinking and eating and how it affects your teeth. Mostly we talk about acid and sugar in soda pop, juice, and sports drinks, and the sugar and creamers that some add to coffee and tea. These are the biggest cause of decay between teeth. And the biggest concern is the time these liquids are in contact with teeth. How much we drink is not as important as how often. So drinking a large quantity of something acidic and/or sugary in a short time frame is actually better for your teeth than sipping a small glass of the same thing for an extended period of time. Best is to eliminate these drinks or use them infrequently, for your teeth and your general health!
What about the foods you eat? We all know that candy bars, gums, mints, and hard candies contain sugar. Sure, we all pop a mint or piece of gum in our mouths to freshen our breath, but how often? And is it sugar free?
Things we don't think about are the snacks that we munch on or the snacks we give our kids. Sticky snacks like fruit snacks or gummies, fruit rollups, and dried fruit provide a big sugar attack on teeth. Because these snacks are sticky, they stick to the teeth for a longer period of time and feed the plaque and bacteria in your mouth. In the same fashion, chips and crackers that some mindlessly eat over longer periods of time , stick to the teeth (especially the groovy biting surfaces of teeth). As these foods begin to break down in the mouth, they break down into sugars that are again feeding the plaque and bacteria in your mouth.
There are some simple tips that can help you to still enjoy these snacks, but in a way that is more healthy to your teeth. First, follow the rule of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster: certain foods or snacks are sometimes foods and snacks. Secondly, eat your snack and be done, don't leisurely eat a pack of fruit snacks or skittles at your desk or in front of the TV over a period of time. An even better idea is to brush or rinse your mouth with water after sticky snacks.
We don't want you to give up yummy snacks all together, we just want you to enjoy them in a manner that doesn't lead you to tooth decay.