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Healthy Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Healthy snacksEveryone appreciates a great smile, however, those pearly whites aren’t just for show! Our teeth play a huge role in both our oral and general health, which is why it is so important to take care of them from the moment the first baby tooth rears its shiny crown.

Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and longevity of our teeth. Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease worldwide, but the good news is, it’s entirely preventable. Children’s teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay than adult teeth. However, the same steps apply in protecting them. The main culprit of this disease is, yes you guessed it, sugar!

Despite the fact that baby teeth are only likely to be present for approximately twelve years, this time is important to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. They play a role in speech, chewing ability and maintaining the space for their adult successors (which can prevent the need for orthodontic treatment in the future). Therefore, establishing a healthy diet for your children from day one is an invaluable method of aiding them to have a lifetime of smiles they are proud of.

In terms of improving both oral and general health, it is important to monitor both amount and frequency of sugar intake. However, interestingly, it is the number of exposures to sugar throughout the day that influences the extent of damage sugar causes to the teeth. For this reason keeping sugar consumption to times where the teeth are already exposed to sugar, such as meal times, prevents the full degree of enamel breakdown.

A list of “go-to” snacks to prevent tooth decay:

Safe Snacks Not-So-Safe Snacks
  • Cheese
  • Rice cakes
  • Fresh fruit (the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits are less likely to cause tooth decay, however, the same cannot be said for dried fruits due to the sticky consistency and high sugar content)
  • Crudités such as carrots, peppers and celery with houmous
  • Yoghurt (with no added sugar)
  • Porridge or sugar free cereals such as shredded wholegrain pillows
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Sugary breakfast cereals
  • Jam and honey
  • Fresh fruit juice (one 150 ml glass per day can count towards your five a day but drinking through a straw will protect your teeth. It is advised to try to avoid fruit juice as a source of nutrients due to the high acidity and sugar content.)
  • Fruit in syrup or canned in juice

Of course, we are only human and sometimes life calls for a slice of cake (yes, even those in the dental profession know that feeling) but doing what you can to follow these simple tips can lead you and your family one step closer to teeth that last a lifetime!

Emily Pontin
Dental Hygienist 

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This website is operated by The Boathouse Dental Surgery Limited, which is registered and incorporated in England and Wales, registered no. 9306311. Its registered office is at 8 King Edward Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4HL.