Excessive snacking between meals leads to tooth decay. By snacking in moderation or avoiding these snacks between meals, one limits the frequency of acid attacks that damage tooth enamel.
Snacking between meals effects
Frequent snacking exposes the teeth to the sugars in food. The plaque in your mouth uses the sugars to make acid. If the teeth are exposed to the acid long enough, holes develop in the teeth which are called dental cavities.
Tooth decay is related more to the frequency and duration of the exposure to food and sugars than the total amount eaten. Therefore, frequent snacking and drinking sweet drinks over a long period of time can increase the risk of tooth decay dramatically.
If one cannot decrease the frequency of snacking and duration of drinking sweet drinks, then the next best alternative is to brush and use dental floss after every snack in order to cleanse the mouth of food and prevent plaque buildup.
Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste can help neutralize the effects of too frequent snacking by enhancing saliva’s ability to prevent or repair early tooth decay.
Saliva function is to act as the body’s first line of defense against bacterial plaque formation, so an enhanced production of saliva will aid in the cause if excessive snacking occurs.
If you do snack, try to choose foods that are low in added sugars such as fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid soft drinks as they are harmful not only due to the sugar content, but also due to the acidity of the drink. Energy drinks should also be avoided as they contain high amounts of sugar and citric acid that may erode away tooth enamel.
Limit snacking to a short period of time. The longer the snacking, the longer the teeth are exposed to foods and liquids that can cause cavities. Ideally, you should brush after snacking. If you are unable to brush, you should swish your mouth and teeth with water.
Chewing sugar free gum after snacking can help remove food and debris that has stuck to the teeth. The sweeteners in sugar free gum have also been shown to help reduce tooth decay.
Make sure to visit your dentist regularly to check-up for tooth decay or other pathologies inside your mouth.
Dr. Dario Vieira Pereira is an expert in aesthetic dental treatments. He ensures patients recover a bright and natural smile and maintain a healthy hygiene daily to prevent future oral issues.
He has passed a Master in surgery and implantology at Facultad de Odontología, at the Universidad de Barcelona