So many people snack throughout the day, oftentimes a few times a day. This snacking, however, can actually be detrimental to your oral health. So, what can you do to help protect your teeth when snacking?
When you eat a meal, it stimulates your saliva, which helps to neutralize the acids in your mouth that cause decay. And, if you have a drink with a meal, it helps to wash away debris. This doesn’t always happen with snacks, which means that food debris may hang around longer than usual in your mouth and on your teeth.
It also depends on the type of snacks you’re choosing. Snacks high in carbohydrates or starches such as chips, crackers, or bread tend to stick to your teeth long afterward. Carbohydrates also convert into sugar, which fuels that bacteria that produce the acids that cause tooth decay and cavities. That is why it is important to brush your teeth after snacking.
So, if you are going to snack, here are a few steps you can take to protect your teeth. If you can’t brush after snacking, try chewing sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum for at least 20 minutes after snacking increases saliva and helps to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Also, be sure to drink water throughout the day. Avoid sugary drinks and sodas. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also helps to wash away food debris that remains from snacking. Lastly, choose healthy snacks. Fruits and vegetables also increase saliva and neutralize acids. So if you need that afternoon snack, reach for fruits or veggies instead of starchy snacks.