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Can changing my snacking habits help prevent cavities?

Limiting snacking can help in preventing cavities. That's because tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, pop, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. As you eat more, your teeth are more prone to these acid attacks.
Not only what you snack on, but when you snack can affect your risk of developing cavities. To prevent cavities, do not slowly drink a sugary beverage or suck on candy. The length of time your teeth are exposed to sugar, rather than the amount of sugar you eat, dictates your risk for cavities. Be sure you are able to clean your mouth properly after eating something high in sugar. Brush your teeth, drink water, or chew sugar-free gum to prevent cavities after eating sugar.
Rita Medwid
Dentist

Absolutely, the less snacking between meals, the better. You may have all the treats you want with a meal, then chew gum or wait a few minutes, then floss and brush. Many of the new diets call for five small meals a day, which still will work well as long as you follow the same procedures after anything is in your mouth. The in-between snacks and sipping on drinks are constantly bathing the teeth with a lower than normal ph. This destroys the protective enamel. The worst offender is that can of soda (diet or regular), Gatorade or power drinks that you sip on for several hours. There are many good fluoride toothpastes and fluoride gels or creams to apply to your teeth at night to help re-mineralize and strengthen the enamel.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.