Sugary snacks might taste good, but they’re not very good for your body, especially on your teeth. Those candies, cookies and cakes and other foods with refined sugar that many kids eat between meals will damage the teeth. Kids who eat sugary snacks don’t always brush and floss immediately after and that is where the problem starts. Starchy food can break down to sugars as well and good dental hygiene should really be top of mind after all snacks.
You might not know it, but there’s bacteria living in your mouth all the time. Some of them form a sticky material on the teeth surface called plaque. When there’s sugar in your mouth, the bacteria in the plaque breaks down the sugar and turns some of it into acids. These acids can dissolve the hard enamel covering the tooth, which eventually leads to cavities. If you control your sugar intake, then the bacteria won’t produce as much acid that causes decay.
Before eating something, ask yourself what happens to these bits of food during chewing? If it breaks down to simple sugars, think of another snack. Also, remember that certain kinds of sweets can be more damaging than others. Chewy or gooey sweets spend more time on the surface of your tooth, and therefore may cause more decay. Also consider when and how often you eat snacks. Damaging acids form each time you eat something sugary, and it continues affecting your teeth for at least 20 minutes after you eat.
If you have to eat sweets, eat them as dessert after a main meal, rather than munching on them several times a day in between meals. And, more importantly, if you eat sweets, brush your teeth well afterwards with a fluoride toothpaste. For your snacks and in-between munches, pick something that has less sugar or starches like chips. There are so many tasty and filling snacks that are less harmful to your teeth compared to foods teeming with sugars with low nutritional value.
Snacking smart is a key to protecting your teeth and keeping them healthy. Low fat choices such as fresh fruits, raw vegetables or whole grain bread or crackers are examples of smart choices. Eating the right kind of foods will help protect you from tooth decay as well as a host of other diseases. So the next time you crave a quick snack, take your pick from a menu of low-fat, non-sugary snack items from the basic food groups. You can ask your children dentist in Langhorne for healthier snack ideas.
Candy bars aren’t the only suspects. A pediatric dentist in Washington Crossing we interviewed says foods like breads, hamburgers and pizza also has sugars. This is why it’s important to read labels. Today’s new food labels identify the fats and sugars on the package’s Nutrition Facts panel. Remember that honey, syrups, molasses and brown sugar can react with bacteria to create acids in the same way refined sugar does. These food items have the potential to damage your teeth as well.
Snacks for your child should include a variety of foods from the basic food groups, including vegetables and fruits; grains, including cereals and breads; meat, nuts and seeds; and milk and dairy products. Some snack items contain greater nutritional value than others and can better promote the growth and development of your child. If you have any more questions about sugar and how it affects your child’s teeth, consult with the best kids dentist in your area.