Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kids….Eat this, Not That!!

A dental hygienist’s perspective on healthy snacks for kids
School is back in session! This makes me think back to the days I would get home from school (famished) and reach for the gummy bears and grape juice as an after-school snack. I am writing this blog to highlight different teeth-friendly foods to help get you through the school season without earning new cavities. Some foods may taste great, and even be considered “healthy” but can still have a negative effect on the teeth.
One of the biggest things that we take into consideration is how sticky the snack is. Snacks like raisins, fruit-roll-ups, gummy bears, and licorice are not the best choice for your teeth. They have what we call a ‘retentive factor’. They stick to the surface of the tooth more so that other foods.  

Description: Description: C:\Users\user\Desktop\occlusal.jpgThe surface of a tooth has peaks and valleys. The diagram to the right illustrates the surface of a tooth.  The trenched –out valley part of the tooth is where pieces of sticky food get lodged and can burrow down into deep grooves eventually causing decay.  The deep valley of the tooth is the most common surface to get a cavity. Even with a good brushing routine, the bristles of the toothbrush have trouble reaching the full depth of the valley.

Some examples of teeth-friendly snacks would be carrots, apples, bananas, cheese and cashews. Not only are they healthy for your body, but they are known to have low amounts of sugar as well.  All of those options are less likely to get caught in the grooves of teeth and are said to brush out easier than the chewy choices.
It is interesting that some foods that are considered healthy may still cause distress in areas of the mouth. Just keep in mind when diving for a snack, go for something that will not leave a lasting impression on your teeth!

By Annie Lutterman

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