Do you fall victim to the snack attack? Is all snacking unhealthy? Colgate.com shares some great information about the dangers and benefits that can come from proper snacking choices. With summer in full swing, the more you operate offensively, and carefully plan the snacks available to your family throughout the day, the better off everyone will be with their overall health. Snacking and tooth decay If fluoride is our greatest protection against decay, then frequent snacking can be our teeth's biggest enemy. Every day, you and your family face snacking challenges. Here's what you need to know:
It's how often you snack that matters The truth is that what your family eats isn't as important as when and how often they snack! It all has to do with the "plaque reaction," and this is how it works:
The plaque reaction Everyone has plaque bacteria in their mouths. But when these plaque bacteria meet up with the sugars and starches that are found in snacks such as cookies, candies, dried fruits, soft drinks or even pretzels or potato chips, the plaque reacts to create acid, and a "plaque attack" occurs.
The fact is most snacks that you eat contain either sugars or starches that give plaque this opportunity to make acid. And each "plaque attack" can last for up to 20 minutes after you have finished your snack. During this period, the plaque acid is attacking tooth enamel, making it weak. That's when cavities can start!
Fighting back against plaque The good news is, you can take a stand against plaque! By brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and by reducing the number of times you snack each day, you and your family can help prevent tooth decay.
When it comes to snacking, it's best to choose something nutritious and to snack in moderation. It's also better to eat the whole snack at one time! Here's why: eating five pieces of a snack at one time exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay — for approximately 20 minutes. Nibbling on those same five pieces at five different times exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay for approximately 100 minutes. What a difference!
You need to watch baby's sweets, too! Infants are just as susceptible to decay as older children and adults. In fact, Early Childhood Cavities can be a very serious condition. See The Preventing Early Childhood Cavities section below for more information.