You’ve heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Did you know it applies to more than just your waistline? Your diet also influences your dental health. Although you’re always surrounded by sweet treats and salty snacks, your dentist in Orange Park recommends you snack smart to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Sometimes, it isn’t always easy, but here are 5 easy tips to keep in mind for a healthy smile.
Dangers of Sugary Treats
Your teeth are designed to last for a lifetime. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to your oral health is tooth decay. Although cavities are preventable, at least 92% of adults have had one in a permanent tooth. Often, they occur from frequent sugar consumption and poor oral hygiene habits.
When sugars combine with your saliva, it turns plaque into an acid, which can slowly eat a hole in your enamel if it isn’t removed with brushing and flossing. Since starchy foods break down to sugars after they are in your mouth, they are equally harmful.
Snack Smart with Healthy Alternatives
You can’t always avoid your sweet tooth. Giving in to your cravings on occasion won’t harm your smile, but it’s important to consume sugar in moderation. It’s also best to make a few additional changes:
- Eat Sweets with Your Meal
Sugars in your mouth can damage your teeth for up to 20 minutes after consuming them. As a result, you don’t want to snack on sweets throughout the day. Instead, it’s best to have your sweets with your meal because the foods will help neutralize the sugars.
- Skip Sticky Foods
As a rule of thumb, sticky foods cling to your teeth, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead of eating a sticky piece of candy, choose fresh fruit or low-fat cheese.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Water keeps you hydrated and your mouth moist. It also helps cleanse your teeth and gums of harmful bacteria in between brushing and flossing. It’s best to skip soda and juices by drinking water to keep your smile healthy.
- Brush Your Teeth
Your dentist recommends you brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each session, but don’t feel limited to only brushing in the morning and at night. If you consume sugar, brush your teeth immediately afterward to protect your enamel.
- Don’t Eat Before Bed
Don’t eat or drink anything except water after brushing your teeth for the night. You don’t want harmful sugars to linger in your mouth while you sleep.
Invest in a Cavity-Free Smile
You can invest in a healthy smile by snacking smart. A few simple changes throughout the day will have a lasting impact on your teeth and gums. Besides caring for your smile at home, don’t forget to visit your dentist for a cleaning and checkup twice a year.
About Dr. Natasha Patel
Dr. Patel is supported by a lifelong passion for dentistry that started in her father’s dental practice. She focuses on prevention to help her patients achieve and maintain a healthy smile. If it’s time for your next routine appointment, contact our office today.