All Day Tooth Decay | Why Your Favorite Snacks Are Ruining Your Smile

Posted May 2020

By Delta Dental of Arkansas

Tagged citrus, sodas, acidic foods, starchy foods, sticky foods, plaque, tooth, oral health, dental benefits

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All Day Tooth Decay | Why Your Favorite Snacks Are Ruining Your Smile

Updated July 2021

The foods that cause tooth decay aren’t limited to sugars and sweets. Knowing other foods that cause tooth decay can help you make better choices for your oral and overall health.

Most of us love snacks, but the unsavory truth is that some of your favorites can cause tooth decay. Let’s drill a bit deeper into what’s happening when food and drink enter our mouth.

Plaque and Tooth Decay

Everything we eat causes plaque. Some foods and drink cause more than others.

Plaque is a soft and sticky film full of bacteria that builds up on teeth. It eats sugars in the foods we eat and produces acids that ruin tooth enamel. The acid compromises the tooth, leading to a cavity. If left untreated, the bacteria can also cause gum disease

Foods That Cause the Most Tooth Decay

Enjoy these foods and snacks in moderation to lower the risk of tooth decay: 

Citrus Fruits and Juices

Frequent exposure to acidic foods can ruin tooth enamel. This makes the teeth prone to decay over time. Damaged tooth enamel leads to uncomfortable sensitivity, too. Make sure to drink plenty of water after enjoying an orange, grapefruit or other citrus fruit or juice. Water will rinse away the acids left behind.

Don’t brush your teeth just yet! Brushing after eating or drinking something acidic rubs the acid against your enamel. This is harmful. So rinse with water first, wait at least 30 minutes and then brush. 

Dried Fruits and Sticky Snacks

Do you love dried apricots or raisins as a healthy snack? They contain important minerals and fiber, but they tend to get stuck between your teeth. Anything that’s stuck between your teeth means is an open invitation for plaque-causing bacteria to have a field day. Volley back with two simple tricks:

  1. Avoid varieties with added sugar or corn syrup to lower your overall sugar intake. The same advice applies to caramels, jelly beans, lollipops and hard candy.
  2. Always rinse and brush after eating and even floss if necessary. 

Starchy Foods and Snacks

Foods like bread, chips, pasta and even crackers can be as harmful to our teeth as candy. Starches tend to linger in the mouth and break down into simple sugars for bacteria to feed on. Pay close attention while flossing and make sure you remove all debris stuck between the teeth to avoid plaque buildup. 

Soda and Sports Drinks

Drinking your sugars is just as bad as eating them, if not worse. When consuming a soda, don’t take your time and drink it one sip at a time – especially when at work. This is like giving your teeth a sugar bath every 30 minutes. Instead, if you drink soda, treat it like a meal and finish it in one sitting. Then rinse with water and brush afterward. Choose low-sugar drinks or better yet, fluoridated tap water.

Snack Smart

You don’t have to vow to never eat from this list again. Eat foods that increase your risk of tooth decay in moderation, floss at least once a day and brush twice a day for two minutes. Follow this with flossing and keep your smile free from the damages of sugar and starch.

Looking for healthy, low-sugar recipe alternatives? Check out our recommendations:

Zoodles and Company  

Visit the Dentist Regularly

Schedule regular preventive visits to your dentist to spot and treat any cavities or gum disease early. Our affordable insurance plans for individuals, families or employers can help avoid holes in your teeth and holes in your budget.

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Posted by Delta Dental of Arkansas



Posted by Delta Dental of Arkansas

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