I’ve written about Eat This, Not That For Your Teeth. And it appears that even some healthy treats can be as bad for your teeth as soda, candy bars, and other junk foods. It may be surprising, but your favorite granola, smoothie, or fruit juices can be absolutely awful for your teeth and can you give cavities.
The people who can be the worst affected are children. Many parents are trying to be conscientious about their children’s health, especially in the wake of our child obesity epidemic. Things like granola bars, raisins, smoothies, and juice are all treats that children love. What may come as a surprise is the levels of sugar and acidity that some of these products have, either naturally or as an additive. Combined with the fact that chewy snacks can sometimes adhere to teeth, causing plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to enamel damage and cavities. This can be further exacerbated by irregular visits to the dentist, and may children are not getting proper dental care.
The same goes for adults. Health conscious adults turn to products like ClifBars, trail mixes (without M&Ms), juices, and other ‘health’ foods in lieu of chips, candy, and soda. However, parents and other adults should be conscientious of the levels of sugar and acidity in their favorite foods. By reading the nutritional labels, you can figure out which products are laden with sugar and which are not. Another bit of advice, especially regarding juices, especially concentrates or juices made from concentrate, is to water them down a bit. They will still taste flavorful and deliver nutrition, but you risk of potential tooth decay is greatly lessened as the sugar and acidity is diluted.
Water is the best and healthiest drink, especially if you are trying to be health conscious or lower the risk of tooth decay. Water can assist your saliva in washing away food particles and diluting acids that pose a risk to your teeth. Naturally, you should always brush and floss twice a day for proper oral care, but drinking water regularly will also help keep your dental health in tip top shape. Parents should also consider giving their children diluted juices or simply water to their children to establish good habits.
It is a shame that many people are still putting themselves at risk for cavities, tooth decay, and other dental issues when they make a healthy lifestyle change. It is important to do the research and figure out how much sugar and acid is actually in your food to reduce your chances of tooth decay. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, but often prepackaged products are the worst offenders. When reaching for a snack, consider a piece of fruit like an apple, orange, or a handful of berries, or try vegetables like celery, carrots, or certain kinds of nuts and legumes. Sometimes the best snacks come straight from nature. You can also try making your own treats, so you have absolute control of the sugar and acid levels. And oftentimes, they can be better than the things you can buy from the store. And a water is the best way to stay hydrated.
Remember though, to always brush your teeth twice a day and see your dentist at least twice a year to ensure that you are not suffering from any form of tooth decay or other problems.