By Alissa Gavrilescu on Dec 19, 2019 @ 10:30 AM
We all get hungry between meals, but the cheapest, most convenient snacks generally aren't good for our teeth or the rest of our bodies. It's quick and easy to grab a candy bar or a pack of cookies from a vending machine, but you'll pay for that convenience with a visit to the dentist. Sugar free goodies that promote dental health are better for your teeth -- and the rest of your body -- than sugar-packed options.
Drink water. Staying hydrated is important for oral health, because water can wash away the sugary residues and acidity left by foods. Also, drinking water can help you fill up, so you don't snack on empty calories as often.
Fresh fruit and raw vegetables (broccoli, carrots and cucumbers) are always a good choice. Oranges, pineapples, and tangerines are as sweet as any candy without the sticky factor that keeps the sugar stuck on your teeth. Plus, these natural sweets have vitamin C. While grapefruit isn't as sweet, it has vitamins C and A and can be sweetened with a natural sugar-free option like stevia or monk fruit extract. Fresh fruit tips to keep in mind:
- Brush your teeth after eating citrus fruit because the acidity can affect tooth enamel.
- Chewing apples and celery can help wash away stains left by other foods.
- Both apples and celery have high water content, which keeps a healthy amount of saliva in your mouth.
- Blueberries have anti-oxidants, but they can stain your teeth, so make sure you use toothpaste with calcium carbonate after enjoying your snack.
- Fresh is best. Canned fruit is usually swimming in sweetened syrup and not as smile-friendly as fresh.
Nuts are another healthy snack choice. They are low in sugar and contain calcium and phosphorus, both of which strengthen teeth. Their polyunsaturated fat content may help prevent gum disease which can impact your overall health as well. Nuts are a good source of protein and fiber.
Cheese is an excellent snack for your smile because it is a source of calcium and can restore the natural pH balance of the mouth by soaking up acidity.
Snacking smart has its perks. Not only does it keep calories down (and keeps you on track for those New Year’s resolutions) but it also protects your oral health.