Surprising Cavity-Causing Snacks That Are Worse Than Candy
With Halloween right around the corner, our dental office in Douglasville wants to share a secret with our patients and neighbors. Did you know that there are snacks out there that are worse for your teeth than candy? You heard us right. Candy may not be the scariest thing for your oral health. It’s no trick. Just the truth.
A Note on Sugary Sweets
While we’re here to talk about surprising snacks that are dangerous to oral health, it is worth mentioning that candy is still a concern for your dentist in Douglasville. But it’s not really the sugar itself that’s the problem. It’s what happens to the sugar when you eat it. Bacteria that live in the mouth love sugar and will feed on it every chance they get. This keeps the bacteria full and healthy. But what’s more concerning is what happens when these bacteria digest sugars. Like all living things, bacteria have to release waste. They just so happen to release an acid that wears away tooth enamel and increases the likelihood of cavities. Because of this, it’s still important to enjoy sugary foods in moderation.
It’s Not Only About Sugar
Even though sugar gets a bad reputation when talking about keeping teeth healthy, there are other treats that can be just as damaging, if not more so.
Crackers & Chips
The high starch content found in crackers and chips can be more of a concern than sugar. While these snacks don’t necessarily taste sweet, the starches can affect the body very much the same way sugar does. This is because chips and crackers have a high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to increase blood glucose levels as the body digests them. This means that even though there’s low sugar listed in the ingredients, the starches will feed mouth bacteria the same way sugar does. This also means that bacteria will release more of the acidic byproduct and leave teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all.
When chewed, chips and crackers form into almost a paste-like consistency. This makes them very sticky and they can easily get stuck in between teeth and in tooth grooves. The longer the starches are left in the mouth like this, the more they’re feeding the bacteria and the more acid is getting released.
Keeping Your Teeth Safe
Just like we recommend limiting the amount of sugary foods you eat, we also suggest snacking on starchy foods such as chips and crackers in moderation. But no matter what you choose to treat yourself to this Halloween, be sure to pair eating with drinking water. This will help wash away food particles, bacteria, and neutralize acid.
Happy Halloween from our Douglasville dental office!
The Oral Health Benefits of Chewing Gum
It may come as a surprise to hear our dental office in Douglasville supporting something found in the candy aisle. But when it comes to gum, we actually recommend that our patients consider chewing it occasionally. However, not just any gum will get our seal of approval. Gum containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or saccharine just won’t do. Instead, look for a gum containing Xylitol and your mouth may thank you.
All About Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that gives you the satisfaction of sweet without the damaging effects of regular sugar or many sugar substitutes. Traditional sugar can not only spike blood glucose levels throughout the body, but puts your teeth at increased risk for decay too. Xylitol is different and can actually boost oral health by:
- Protecting teeth against decay
- Preventing inflammation
- Reducing the risk of gum disease
- Building strong teeth
Why is Xylitol Good for Teeth?
Unlike traditional sugar that feeds the bacteria in our mouths, Xylitol technically starves it. You see, when regular sugar is ingested it provides the bacteria a feast of nutrients. But just like any living thing, what goes in must come out. It just so happens that the byproduct of feeding bacteria is a dangerous acid that can eat away at tooth enamel leaving them at risk for decay. Xylitol is different. While bacteria may still feed on Xylitol, it doesn’t provide bacteria with any nutrients and essentially starves it. In fact, chewing Xylitol gum can decrease oral bacteria levels, sometimes by up to 75%. This also means there is no acid production from feeding bacteria and teeth are more protected.
Chewing Xylitol gum does even more for your oral health than decreasing bacteria and acid. The act of chewing in general produces more saliva. This saliva neutralizes acid and rinses away harmful bacteria in the mouth. It also helps keep teeth strong by helping remineralize them with phosphate and calcium.
Gum can be a great way to protect teeth when you don’t have an opportunity to brush or floss your teeth, but it shouldn’t be a replacement to proper oral hygiene. We recommend continuing to brush and floss everyday and maintain visits to your dentist in Douglasville every six months.
At our Douglasville dental office we’re always accepting new patients and welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment today. We’re here to help our neighbors smile!