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Home|Blog / How Is Snacking Impacting Your Oral Health

/blog/how-is-snacking-impacting-your-oral-healthSnacking throughout the day is a common habit. However, if you’re constantly nibbling on something, this practice could harm your smile more than you think. Why does snacking impact your oral health? Here’s what you should know, and my recommendations for prevention. 

How Snacking Impacts Your Oral Health

When you snack throughout the day, your teeth are exposed to a constant cycle of acidic and sugary attacks. Your saliva helps neutralize some of the acids, prevent plaque from building up in the oral cavity, and repair minor damage. But frequent snacking can overwhelm this natural defense mechanism, leaving your teeth vulnerable.

Increases Your Risk for Tooth Decay

Since saliva plays an important role in protecting our teeth, the lack of it may increase your risk for tooth decay. People who experience dry mouth are at higher risk for tooth decay, but so are those who snack frequently, because this habit doesn’t give your body a chance to produce the adequate amount of saliva needed to neutralize acids from what you’re eating. When you snack instead of eating a full meal, you could be increasing your risk for tooth decay and not realize it.

Additionally, snacks high in sugar, like candies, cookies, and chips feed the bacteria naturally present in your mouth. These bacteria produce acids as they break down the sugars, leading to plaque formation. Over time, plaque can cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

Processed Foods Attack Tooth Enamel

Unfortunately, highly processed snacks contain added sugars and carbohydrates. These types of foods like the ones mentioned above not only stick to your teeth but also start eroding tooth enamel because they take longer to break down. This leads to sensitivity and tooth decay. 

Snacking on processed foods that are low in water content can decrease saliva production, and also prompt inflammation common in gum disease.  

Recommendations to Reduce Snacking and Improve Oral Health

To protect your teeth, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly. Additionally: 

And as always, follow up with your dentist. Getting professional cleanings removes plaque and bacteria that toothbrushes and floss can’t always get rid of. By keeping up with your checkups, you can give your smile its best chance to be healthy!