You can satisfy a craving for sweet munchies from time to time while protecting your teeth from cavities. Most of us know that sugary beverages and candies contribute to tooth decay. However, sugar is not the only culprit in causing cavities. Decay often occurs when teeth are exposed to acids. Within twenty minutes after eating, plaque bacteria consumes sugar from the food you eat. As this happens, an acidic compound (lactic acid) is produced, which dissolves the calcium phosphate in your enamel, causing it to break down.

Here are some tips on how beat the negative causes of acid and avoid cavities.

Ways to Snack and Avoid Cavities

1. Brush frequently. If you eat snacks throughout the day, carry your portable toothbrush wherever you go. This will make it easier to clean your teeth after eating, rather than relying solely on water to rinse your teeth.

2. Replace your toothbrush. To help maximize toothbrush function, purchase a new brush every 3-4 months (or right away if you have been sick). If your brush has frayed bristles, it’s time to swap it out. Also, if you consume a lot of sweets, you may need to change your toothbrush more often. A brush with a diamond-shaped head shape and triple-action bristles is often recommended, because of its ability to reach every corner of the mouth and thoroughly clean teeth and gums.

3. Floss at least once a day. Remove food particles stuck in between teeth.

Ways to Snack and Avoid Cavities

4. Use mouthwash. Wash away excess food particles in your mouth with a fluoride rinse. Choose a mouthwash with germ-killing ingredients so you get the most out of one rinse: freshen your breath and protect your teeth from demineralizing acids. If you have sensitive gums, consider using natural mouthwashes with ingredients like chamomile and aloe vera.

When cravings set in, it’s easy to reach for fast food and vending machine options. Instead, have these guilt-free treats in your pantry and in your bag.

5. Choose healthy alternatives. Rather than desserts and other sugary and sticky snacks, try:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Seasonal fruits
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Unsweetened cereal
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Yogurt

Ways to Snack and Avoid Cavities

6. Chew sugarless gum for twenty minutes. This activity increases secretion of saliva. Salivary mucins are the body’s natural defenses against the damage of tooth decay bacteria.

You can still enjoy sweet snacks by making better choices for treats and maintaining good oral hygiene. The Dental and Denture Office can help restore the health of your teeth and gums. Book a consultation at (905) 815-8208 (Oakville) or at (905) 330-3000 (Burlington).