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Take A Bite:

Snacks That Are Healthy for Your Teeth By Jessica Dietrich

W

e all have our vices: whether it’s a nightly soda with dinner, an after-dinner Snickers bar, a handful of potato chips in front of the TV, or an adult beverage after a long week. We all deserve to indulge a little, but your dentist may be concerned to learn if any or all of the above are part of your daily or weekly routine. Any dentist will tell you that sugary foods and poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Foods that are high in carbs, starches and sugars produce plaque, which causes tooth enamel to break down and cavities to form. But it’s not just the obvious lineup of candy bars, sodas and potato chips that are responsible for all the dirty work. Pizza, hamburger buns and breads are just as guilty. The labels on these foods show that they are high in sugars and starches that eventually break down into sugars. However, some foods high in sugars still contain nutrients that we need in our daily intake. So, it’s okay to have pizza for dinner, but consider a healthier snack afterwards. Put the chocolate bar down and consider one of the healthier alternatives below. If you make the better choice now, your body and teeth will thank you later. Indulging a little here and there is not the issue. In fact, it’s best to do everything in moderation. So, enjoy that hamburger with the sesame seed bun for dinner, but make a wiser choice for dessert.

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When craving potato chips, consider noshing on: Popcorn Potato chips are very high in starch, which can get trapped in your teeth. All the food particles can cause plaque build-up, which is what you need to avoid. Popcorn is a wonderful alternative, as it is not made of refined starch.

Sometimes the longing for a cold soda or alcoholic drink overcomes us. Instead go for: Water Most carbonated soft drinks are high in sugars as well as acidity, both bad for your teeth. Alcoholic drinks are notorious for their sugar content. While water may seem like a boring alternative, it certainly is the healthiest for you and your teeth.

When the hankering for a piece of toast kicks in, opt for: Whole Wheat Bread

On the hunt for something sweet? Try these: Fresh Fruit Fruit does have sugar, but these are natural sugars and it’s a fibrous snack that contains important nutrients that are good for your body. Try adding fresh fruit to plain yogurt. Be sure it’s not yogurt with added sugars. Your teeth will be happy and your body will thank you!

Some of us enjoy a piece of toast with jam or butter with a cup of tea or coffee. White bread may be what’s left in the fridge, but try toasting some whole wheat bread. White bread contains added sugars; whole wheat does not.

If you’re choosing between appetizers, look for: Cheese Any phosphorus food rich in calcium is great for protecting your tooth enamel. Cheese can help replace minerals in your teeth and has casein, a protein found in both milk and cheese that prevents decaycausing bacteria from growing on your teeth.

Healthy Living: Top Dentists - Winter 2016  
Healthy Living: Top Dentists - Winter 2016  
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