Ever wonder why you have that sudden craving for something sweet? Believe it or not, millions of Americans are addicted to sugar, and they don’t even know it. Some studies have discovered that when we consume sugar, the same pleasure centers of the brain that are stimulated by cocaine or heroin use, get triggered by sugar as well, leading to cravings and even withdrawal-like symptoms.
Why Snack for Healthy Teeth Are Tough To Find
Especially for those with young children who love to consume cakes, cookies, candies and other sugary foods that can cause tooth decay, it can be difficult know exactly how much sugar your child is consuming. Sugar also comes in dozens of forms from sucrose and fructose to dextrose and others, making it difficult for parents to cut down on how much sugar your little tyke might be consuming on an everyday basis.
So are sugary snacks REALLY a bad idea?
Essentially, consuming sugar causes your mouth to become acidic by feeding plaque-forming bacteria which consume the sugars and turn them into acids that are harsh enough to dissolve the enamel of your teeth. That’s why sugar in an unbrushed mouth is the perfect recipe for a cavity.
Before you pick up that back of chips or Chewy bar, ask yourself if know what is in the food you’ve chosen. How much sugar is in it? Keep in mind, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that the maximum amount of sugars you should be consuming is between nine teaspoons (for men) and six teaspoons (for women).
Another precaution to keep in mind is that certain kinds of sweets damage your teeth more than others. If your snack is gooey or chewy, it’s going to spend more time stuck to the surfaces of your molars, essentially guaranteeing that your teeth will be basking in an acid-sugar bath. Every time you or your child has a sugar snack, acids will form in your mouth and affect your teeth for at least 20 minutes before they get neutralized by your body’s chemistry.
Snack smart and sparingly throughout the day to protect your teeth
The next time you’re in the snack aisle at your grocery store, here are things to keep in mind that the right foods can help protect your mouth from tooth decay and other diseases. Low-fat choices like raw vegetables, fresh fruits (sparingly) and whole grains are great options, but they aren’t your only ones!
Try these dentist approved treats the next time you want a snack:
- Fresh fruits (Ex: oranges, grapefruit, melons, pineapple, pears, tangerines)
- Raw vegetables (Ex: broccoli, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes)
- Grains (Ex: bread, plain bagels or crackers, unsweetened cereals, pasta)
- Cheese & Dairy products (Especially low or nonfat options)
- Pumpkin & Sunflower seeds
- Unbuttered popcorn
- Low Sodium Pretzels
- Baked tortilla chips
- Chicken & Turkey
- Sliced Meats
At Smiles of Bellevue, our family dentists are experienced at helping families get the dental care that they need. If you are concerned that sugar may be negatively affecting yours or your little one’s dental health, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Smile of Bellevue.