Having snacks throughout the day is a very normal habit that most people engage in. However,
if you’re snacking constantly, this practice could be harming your smile more than you think.
While eating, your mouth produces saliva to help you chew and swallow food. Saliva also helps
to prevent plaque from building up in the oral cavity. With snacking, this isn’t quite the case.
Constantly exposing your mouth to acids from food can hurt your teeth.
How exactly does snacking impact your oral health? The answer may surprise you!
Snacking Increases Your Risk for Tooth Decay
Since saliva plays an important role in protecting our teeth, lack thereof can 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.
Constantly nibbling on food 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.
Processed Foods Can Attack Tooth Enamel
Unfortunately, snacks often include highly processed foods which contain added sugars and
carbohydrates. These kinds of foods—think granola bars, potato chips, or cookies—not only
stick to your teeth, but can actually start eroding tooth enamel while they take their time to
Foods that are high in carbohydrates such as these are more likely to cause sensitive teeth and
tooth decay due to the fact that they attack tooth enamel. Processed foods can also promote
inflammation such as that which is present in gum disease. When you snack on processed
foods, you could be harming your teeth and gums instead of waiting to eat a meal or choosing
What Can You Do?
First, reducing the amount of time that you snack is going to be important for your oral health.
It’s ok to have occasional snacks throughout the day, but be choosy about what you eat and
make a point not to constantly nibble on food.
Limiting sugary snack foods to meals can also help you maintain better oral health instead of
eating sugar in between meals when your saliva production is going to be lower. Reducing your
intake of processed foods and foods with added sugar is going to benefit you as well.
When you do decide to snack, be sure to drink plenty of water. Water can help replenish your
saliva and maintain a barrier between harmful bacteria and your tooth enamel.
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!
You don’t have to give up snacking to have a great smile—just reduce the number of snacks you
have per day and always follow best practices when doing so. By eating healthier snacks such as
whole foods and reducing the amount of processed foods you eat in addition to drinking water,
you can set your mouth up for some healthy snacking time!