Food! A healthy diet is intrinsic to great oral health. Milwaukie Oregon dentist Dr. Sue Walker recommends patients eat nutritious, low-in-sugar foods for two reasons: to provide your body with plenty of nutrients for healthy teeth and gums, and to avoid the damaging effects of eating sugar.
But this simple advice can get tricky
Sometimes eating healthy isn’t as easy as it sounds– even when we try “buy healthy” at the grocery store, we can often be snared by the advertising of less-than-healthy foods. Food manufacturers know that consumers want to buy healthy snacks, so they are marketing snacks as food that it is good for you. The problem is, they might not be healthy, especially for your teeth.
The real situation
Many snacks that are marketed as “healthy options” may actually contain high amounts of sugar. In some studies, raisin and cereal bars or fruit drinks have been found to be as high in sugar as soda! Worse yet, many of these snacks are marketed for children. This tricky marketing is understandably frustrating for parents who try to offer healthy snacks to their kids!
Sugar is trouble, no matter what form it takes
Sugar isn’t just empty calories that put on pounds. When it comes to your teeth, sugar contributes to enamel break-down and cavities. This is because the sugar you eat or drink also becomes food for damaging bacteria. The metabolic byproduct of that feast is acid, and acid breaks down your tooth enamel.
But there are solutions
Dr. Sue suggests reading the ingredients for signs of added sugar (corn syrup, cane syrup, and fructose are common additives). Or, you could consider skipping packaged foods altogether; snacks that are whole foods– like apples, bananas, carrots or nuts– are guaranteed not to have added sugar! Just remember when snacking on fruit to stick to whole fruit and not the juice.
If you’re looking for more suggestions on healthy snacking, talk to Dr. Sue at your next appointment! We look forward to seeing you.