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Real Talk: Snacking & Cavities

Updated: Nov 17, 2018

Snacking can increase your child’s cavity risk!

Dental professionals recommend that eating smaller, scheduled meals throughout the day can help prevent childhood obesity, but also tooth decay! Researchers now know that frequent snacking – or “grazing” – is becoming a major source of tooth decay, especially in children.

Teeth go through a healing process between meals as our saliva naturally remineralizes our teeth from the acidic attacks caused from normal eating. When kids snack on sticky foods such as crackers or fruit chews, the result is a constant attack on the teeth that breaks down the enamel and can quickly turn into cavities.

Here are some more things about snacking that might surprise you.

  • How often kids snack – not just what they eat – can be harmful to their teeth. Teeth need breaks between meals and snacks to prevent cavities.  Your mouth needs time to remineralize.

  • Carbs cause cavities? Starchy foods like snack crackers and bagels quickly turn to sugar and easily get stuck on kids’ teeth. The longer they sit there, the higher the risk.

  • Fruit rolls, fruit chews, fruit juice: not really fruit. While there is a dash of fruit juice concentrate and dried fruit in these snacks, the main ingredient is sugar. Even if the product is “all-natural” or “organic.” What’s more, it gets stuck on teeth and eats through the enamel. Result: cavities.

healthy vegetable snacks
health snacks

You may be thinking, “They’re just baby teeth.” But think again. Baby teeth are important! Baby teeth serve several important functions. They help children chew food and speak clearly. They also shape the face and guide permanent teeth into place. Here are some tips for keeping your kids’ baby teeth healthy and strong:

  • Choose healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt, cucumbers and fresh fruit. Limit cavity causers like cookies, candy, crackers, juice, energy/sport drinks and soda.

  • Eat and drink in one sitting instead of sipping and snacking all day long. If you choose to have  sweets or juice, do so with your meal, and wash them down with water.

  • Cavities are completely preventable. Make sure to brush kids’ teeth twice a day, two minutes at a time, with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste—the size of a grain of rice until age 2, the size of a pea after that. Floss once a day as soon as teeth touch.

  • Get your kids’ teeth checked by a dentist by their first birthday, and then twice a year after the initial visit to ensure changes or concerns are caught early!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.



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