Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Snacking Can Be a Hazard to Your Smile

By: | Thursday, August 30th, 2018 | General Dentistry, Oral Health

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Dental services BURKE, VABack-to-School time has many parents on the hunt for the perfect snacks for their school-aged children. Snacking is a vital part of life for people of all ages, but especially for children. When we consume something small and healthy between larger meals, we can regulate blood sugar, mood, and our energy level. While snacks were initially intended for such positive purposes, we have somewhat fallen off the wagon. Snacking on cookies, chips, and soda could do much more harm than good. Here, we discuss how snacking can harm teeth and what to do to create a win-win snacking situation for yourself and those you love.

Snacking and Dental Plaque

As much as experts recommend snacking on fresh fruits and crunchy vegetables, this isn’t often what people reach for. A lot of the snacks that are popular contain sugar, which creates a risk of plaque accumulation around the gum line. Sure, cookies and coffee might sound perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up, but the sugar in one is compounded by the acidity in the other, and the results could be a significant increase in the risk for tooth decay. Sugar residue is invisible, just like the plaque it supports. As this residue sits on enamel, it feeds bacteria and leads to an acidic byproduct that softens enamel. Softened enamel is the precursor to cavities.

Snacking and Erosion

Snacking is supposed to build you up. To hear that your snacks might wear down your teeth can take the air right out of your pleasure balloon. Not to worry; snacking can be pleasurable and healthy. The issue with some snacks, like that cup of coffee or fresh, crispy pickle, is that acidic ingredients can also soften enamel. In recent years, dentists have seen a surge in tooth erosion, which is the large-scale wearing down of the hard, outer material on teeth. Erosion can lead to discoloration as well as dental decay and sensitivity.

Save Your Smile with Simple Habits

You don’t have to stop snacking to save your smile. As much as possible, reach for crunchy, fresh foods that naturally cleanse debris off of your teeth. When you indulge in any snack, rinse your teeth with water (no brushing for thirty minutes) to dilute sugars and acids that may otherwise harm enamel.

Your Burke dentist is on your side against dental decay. Schedule checkups and cleanings for your family at (703)-935-2879.



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