We often feel our teeth are solid as a rock, able to withstand almost anything. In fact, teeth can be much stronger than rocks (especially if you’re a parrotfish). However, like rocks, our teeth face tough adversaries that work hard at wearing them down slowly: time and elements. Some of these are the very elements that are required to help make our bodies continue to run. The fuel we use to make us wake up and focus some or satiate our grumbling tummies. Teeth face erosion and get worn down by the fuel we feed ourselves.
Dangers of Snacking
For many of us, snacking is great way to help us get through the day. The 2 o’clock snack to help you get to 5 pm. The cup of coffee to pick you up in the morning, or the cola to provide you a pick me up after lunch. We know that the calories or caffeine that these give us, help us get on further through our day, but there are dangers from those snacks that are not so obvious.
Sodas and energy drinks often provide us that jolt to get going, but it comes from the sugars and calories that are in them. But these sugars aren’t just feeding you: dangerous oral bacteria grow fat on them, too. These bacteria secrete damaging acid that eats at our tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Sodas and energy drinks also have acidic qualities with them to help with taste and other functions, but when that acid enters your mouth, it begins to attack the enamel of your teeth. This acid can continue to attack our teeth long after we consume the drinks. Too much of these and you may need veneers or crowns for your front teeth.
Starches and other sugars can also cause cause damage for hours by hanging around in the spaces between our teeth or getting stuck on them. Starches and sugars are found in most common snacks like potato chips and caramels. Also some of the healthier alternatives can cause problems, like dried fruit. Dried fruit is healthy and good for you, but they easily get stuck in our teeth and while they are sitting there, they are slowly wearing down our teeth. They may contain acids themselves, but they also feed oral bacteria.
Protecting Your Teeth
How can we help keep our teeth healthier? Being mindful of what we are snacking on or drinking is an important step. Often we can find a tasty and appropriate replacement. For instance, choose sparkling water instead of cola. Picking up a plate of fresh veggies rather than a bag of chips.
You can also help by doing some basic cleaning after you snack. You don’t have to brush every time you eat (and if you do, only use toothpaste twice a day–just use your brush other times). Instead, you can just rinse your mouth with water after a snack. the goal is to neutralize acid and remove food from your mouth.
As with all behaviors, we cannot change this way of thinking overnight, but if we continue to be diligent when that craving strikes, we will see our choices and lifestyle become healthier. Of course we have to always remember to brush regularly and to floss to keep our teeth safe and protected.
Making regular dental checkups is also crucial to protecting your teeth from erosion and decay. If you are looking for a dentist in Anchorage, please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment at Denali Dental Care.