Why Your Nutrition Bars And Power Snacks Might Be Bad For Your Teeth
As a busy adult, you might place more focus on your family and work life than what you eat throughout the day. If you're exceptionally busy, you might even skip meals and snack on nutrition bars and power snacks instead. But what you eat and don't eat can greatly affect your dental health.
Some bars and snacks contain high amounts of unhealthy ingredients, such as corn syrup, fructose, and sucrose (sugar). These sweet ingredients may make your snacks taste good, but they can stick to your teeth and cause tooth decay over time.
Before you reach for your favorite go-to items, learn why you shouldn't and what you can opt for instead.
Can Your Snacks Really Damage Your Teeth?
Most bars and snacks contain healthy ingredients that boost your energy and calm your appetite, such as oats, berries, and even yogurt. But the artificial sugars added to some snacks can be exceptionally problematic for your teeth, including items with gooey, chewy, or sticky textures.
The types of textures mentioned above allow sugar to adhere to your enamel longer than normal. The sugary coating attracts the bacteria lurking in your mouth and forms plaque. Bacteria uses plaque as a food and energy source. But as the organisms feed, bacteria release a powerful byproduct called acid.
The acids in plaque only need as little as 20 minutes to demineralize, or break down the minerals in your tooth enamel. If you consume multiple bars and power snacks, you continuously expose your enamel to demineralization. Your enamel weakens and allows tooth decay to begin.
Tooth decay doesn't rear its ugly head until it's damaged your enamel. A cavity usually begins as a tiny white spot that darkens as it enlarges. Eventually, the cavity creates a hole in the tooth. Most people don't know that they have tooth decay until it becomes large enough to see or cause pain.
To protect your teeth from adult tooth decay, skip your regular snacks and try something new.
What Can You Snack on Instead?
One of the most important things you can do is take some time to prepare healthier snacks for your busy days. Snacks, such as diced or sliced raw carrots and celery, are good options. Not only do these crunchy foods clean your teeth, they can neutralize plaque acids by stimulating your saliva glands when you chew.
Saliva is a natural cleanser in your mouth. The fluid contains various enzymes that break down and wash away mouth germs. In addition, saliva contains minerals that protect and strengthen your enamel. So the more saliva you make, the more benefits you receive from it.
If vegetables don't appeal to you, swap your old bars and snacks with calcium-filled low fat cheese and plain or unsweetened yogurt. If possible, prepare your cheese snacks ahead of time. You can place your cheese in individual plastic food bags for convenience.
You can fill small cups with yogurt and keep them frozen until later. If you like flavor, add small chunks of kiwi or a few raspberries to the cups. Avoid adding honey to the containers. Even honey can cause decay if you don't remove it on time.
Finally, schedule an appointment with a dental office. The nutritional bars and power snacks may have caused some damage to your teeth over time. Unless you have dark spots on your tooth enamel or feel pain in your teeth, you may not be aware that you have problems.
A dentist can treat any decay you might have with fillings. If you don't have decay, a dental provider can strengthen and protect your teeth with fluoride treatments. Also, don't be afraid to ask about protective treatments like sealants. Even adults can benefit from having the surfaces of their molars sealed.
For more information about eating better snacks for good dental health, contact the specialists at Milner Dentistry for more details.