Why snacking may be wrecking your teeth
SUMMARY: There are a number of everyday habits that can actually be causing bad breath and dental caries without you realizing it.
Posted: June 20, 2013
If you are trying to maintain a healthy diet or lose weight, you might consider eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner. Experts believe that munching on nutritional snacks throughout the day will keep your metabolism moving quickly and majority of hunger at bay – a key component in overcoming overeating. However, the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) found that snacking may not be good for your oral health.
Frequent snacking, especially if you are eating sugary or starchy foods, can lead to halitosis and tooth decay because the teeth don't have enough time between meals to recover. When you eat a meal, the bacteria that live in the mouth break down food by creating acid. Acid weakens the enamel and increases your chances of dental caries. So when you are eating more than three times throughout the day, you are giving your teeth a shorter break from the production of acid. You should have water with every meal to rinse as much food and acid away as possible to prevent cavities and treat halitosis.
"It is important people become more responsible with their diets and encourage good eating habits, especially from a younger age," Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of BDHF, said. "As a nation we have turned from three square meals a day to seven to 10 snack attacks including constantly sipping sugary drinks and this may be one reason why improvements in dental health have been slowing down."
If you still have the urge to snack throughout the day but don't want to create issues in your mouth, there are several foods you can consider and not feel guilty about. Think about grabbing fresh fruits and vegetables instead of a bag of crackers or chips. These foods can decrease dental plaque on your teeth as well as promote good breath. There a number of other habits that may also be putting your pearly whites and overall oral health at risk. Here are a few to break today:
Using the wrong toothpaste
Does your toothpaste have a gritty texture that you love because it "whitens" your teeth? Many off-the-shelf brands will market tartar control, but they can actually cause a receding gum line and weakened enamel. Who needs white teeth if they have unhealthy gums? Instead, use a natural and non-abrasive paste like TheraBreath's TheraBrite Plus Toothpaste that contains whitening agents without the harsh side effects. TheraBreath products don't contain any artificial additives and are made with 100 percent pure and natural ingredients. The toothpaste is vegan-approved, diabetic-approved and certified Kosher, to boot.
Scrubbing too hard
You may be trying to scrub away the plaque on your teeth, but you might not actually be doing your teeth any favors. If your toothbrush has firm bristles, you could be brushing a layer of your enamel right off – and that doesn't grow back! Make sure that you are gently scrubbing in a circular motion with a soft-bristle brush. You'll remove all the plaque without hurting your teeth. If you are worried about not getting your teeth clean enough, just make sure that you don't forget to floss afterwards.
Some people just love the taste of soda. Whether it is the sugary, sweet taste, carbonation or caffeine that makes you crave a can of soda pop, you should try to resist the temptation as much as possible. Soda and other sugary beverages feed the bacteria in your mouth – in the same sense that snacks do – and cause a number of issues. But that's not the only acid you have to worry about. Soda already contains a high level of acid that can erode teeth.
Adopting healthy habits can do wonders for your teeth, body and overall wellbeing.