How Does Snacking Affect Your Oral Health?

How Does Snacking Affect Your Oral Health?

Jul 01, 2023

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle has caused the need for regular snacking. While occasional snacking is enjoyable and can improve your mood and boost your energy, sometimes snacking can negatively impact your oral health.

The damage may vary based on the type of snacks, oral hygiene practices, and the frequency of snacking. Read on to learn more about how snacking can affect your mouth and essential tips on maintaining a healthy mouth and body.

Common Types of Snacks and how they affect your oral health

Below are common snacks and how they can affect your oral health.

  • Sugary treats: While enjoyable, sugary items like candies, sweets, gummy bears, and caramels are notoriously high in sugar. These sugars fuel oral bacteria that produce harmful acids that erode your teeth’ enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity, decay, and cavities. These acids also irritate the gums to cause gum disease.
  • Carbonated drinks: While they can boost your energy, carbonated drinks such as soda, sports, and energy drinks have tons of sugars and acids. These sugars and acids contribute to enamel erosion, leading to discoloration, tooth sensitivity, and cavities.
  • Sticky treats: Sticky snacks like candies and dried fruits can stick to the teeth and other areas of the mouth, encouraging bacterial plaque and tartar buildup. These bacterial deposits lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not eliminated promptly. Sticky items can also cause dental restorations, like dentures, to fall out.
  • Potato chips and crackers: While they might not taste sugary, potato chips and crackers are high in starch, fueling harmful oral bacteria.
  • Fruit juices: Fruits juices are high in sugars, which fuel oral bacteria, increasing your risk of oral infections like decay, thrush, and gum disease. Take note of acidic fruit juices like grapefruits, lemons, and oranges. The high acidity can erode teeth, making them vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.
  • Energy bar: While they provide a quick energy boost, energy bars are often high in sugars and artificial additives and can stick to your teeth, contributing to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Hard items: While healthy, hard items like raw nuts and seeds can cause your teeth to crack or chip, compromising the health of your teeth. They can also damage your dental restorations. Visit our dentist near you if your teeth or restorations are damaged.
  • Sweetened cereal: Some breakfast cereals contain added sugars, increasing your risk of cavities and decay.

Risks of oral issues caused by snacking

Below is a summary of oral issues caused by unhealthy snacking:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth chips, cracks, and breaks
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Dental restorations damage

Maintaining healthy snacking habits

While snacking can negatively impact oral health, you don’t have to avoid it entirely. Below are healthy snacking and hygiene habits to maintain good oral health and overall health:

  • Choose low-sugar and acidic foods. Eating tooth-friendly snacks low in acids and sugars can significantly lower your risk of decay, gum disease, and other oral issues. Tooth-friendly foods include cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and yogurt.
  • Limit snacking frequency. Reducing the number of snacking treats can reduce the risk of oral issues.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water after snacking helps wash away food particles and other debris from the mouth, reducing your risk of oral issues.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene. Dental experts recommend brushing at least twice daily and flossing daily. It helps remove plaque and other debris from the mouth, reducing the risk of oral infections. Fluoride toothpaste can help strengthen your teeth and protect them against cavities.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize oral acids and wash away plaque and debris. It lowers your risk of oral infections.
  • Avoid hard or sticky items. Choose snacks that are easy to chew and eat.
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings. These checkups help detect and address potential oral issues early on, preserving your oral health. The dentist near you also helps clean your teeth and mouth, helping you maintain healthy teeth and mouth.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Limit the number and amount of snacks to minimize the risk of damage to your mouth.
  • Choose healthier alternatives. If you’re craving unhealthy snacks like sodas and sugar, you can consider alternative healthy choices like honey and fresh fruits.

Visit our dental office near you.

Do you need further information about the impact of snacking? Or do you need dental treatments? Contact daily DENTAL & bracesbar to speak with your dentist in Ohio.

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