Do you avoid sugary foods and brush and floss everyday but still seem to get cavities? Did you know that HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat in determining how many cavities you get - you cannot out brush and floss a bad tooth diet!
Nutrition and preventing cavities are linked… kind of, but not 100%. A variety of whole foods is always better for your teeth than processed foods, BUT there are certain types of whole foods that still can lead to cavities.
The most important factors that determine whether a snack food is going to cause cavities or not are:
- If it contains carbohydrates (starches)
- How long the food stays stuck on the teeth
- How fast the food is usually consumed
Let’s compare fresh fruit to dried fruit.
So, a fresh apple is on the “good list” for teeth, even though it contains sugar. Just don’t nibble on it 8 times a day and your teeth will be fine.
So, dried fruit is worse for your teeth because it is stickier, and more likely to be carried around.
The same is true for bread and crackers. The starch in bread isn’t as sticky as a cracker. Just like fresh fruit is better than dried fruit, fresh bread is better than dried bread (a cracker).
Check out our Snack Guide for good and bad snacks for your teeth.
Yes, the list has ice cream on it. Not because you should eat it all of the time, but because we are all human and are going to want to treat ourselves once in awhile. Because cavities are based mostly on time, teeth are actually better off to have ice cream once a day, instead of sticky crackers three times a day, because of the time factor. Bacteria can’t tell whether sugar is from a cracker or ice cream.
Daily brushing and flossing, using a fluoride toothpaste and regular dental check-ups are all tools to prevent cavities but as you can see - your snack choices are crucial to maintaining a healthy smile for life!