Which Snacks Damage Teeth?
Nobody likes to get a cavity, especially when you’ve taken good care of your teeth and gums. Sometimes the problem is not your oral care regimen, but the foods you consume on a daily basis:
- Starches, like pasta, pretzels, and potato chips: When you eat a handful of pretzels, enzymes in your saliva break the food into simple sugars, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
- Hard candies, like peppermints: Many people don’t think twice about sucking on sugary candies all day long. By doing so, they’re putting their teeth under constant attack by tooth decay-causing bacteria.
- Medicinal products, like antacids, cough drops, and mints: Gram for gram, some antacids and cough drops have as much, if not more, sugar than chocolate! If you can’t imagine life without breath mints, make sure to read the label. Some brands pack nearly ¼ cup of sugar per tin.
- Soda: Loaded with sugar and flavor additives, soda not only feeds the bacteria in your mouth but the acids found in diet sodas, too, can destroy tooth enamel.
- Bottled water: If you usually consume bottled or filtered water, you may be missing out on the decay-preventing benefits of fluoride. Most bottled waters do not contain fluoride and most home water-filtration systems remove all fluoride. Read the labels and look for bottled waters that contain fluoride.
- Coffee drinks: Whipped cream, chocolate sauce, flavor syrups…when you load your coffee with these goodies, you’re consuming lots of sugar. A small caramel macchiato, for example, has more sugar than a Snickers candy bar.
- Juice: Although juice can be packed with vitamins, it’s not always the healthiest alternative to soda. Even unsweetened juices contain naturally occurring sugar…for example, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains approximately 30 grams of sugar. In comparison, the same size serving of Mountain Dew contains 31 grams of sugar.
- Sports drinks: Except in cases of dehydration or significant exertion, reach for water instead of a sports drink. These drinks are often high in sugars.
- Fruit-based products such as roll-ups: Made from sweetened fruit purees, these sticky snacks are essentially candy. Bits and pieces of them stick to teeth, leaving your teeth even more susceptible to decay.
- Gum: Sugary chewing gum puts your teeth under prolonged attack. Sugarless gum is a better option. Xylitol, a sugar substitute in some sugarless gums, has even been shown to help prevent tooth decay.
Source: Dental Dateline, Chicago Dental Society Review
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