Snack Facts
Sugar Snack Facts:
  • Frequent snacking on foods containing sugar increases your risk of getting cavities. Duh.
  • Each time you eat sugar, plaque in the mouth combines with sugar to produce acid.
  • These acid attacks on the teeth over time can destroy the tooth structure.
You need to eat a variety of foods: grains, milk and milk products, meat, vegetables, and fruits. Sweets can be addictive! Try to avoid developing a "sweet tooth" by limiting foods high in sugar.

Tips for Good Snacking Habits:

  • Cut down on high sugar snacks and choose snacks which are low in sugar such as vegetables, cheese, or pretzels. These do not promote tooth decay.
  • Cut down the number of times a day you eat sugar in food and snacks. With frequent snacks, the acidity of the mouth stays high. This exposes the tooth to acid for extended time periods. Frequency of snacks will increase the risk of getting cavities more than the amount eaten at one sitting.
  • Avoid soft, sticky sweets that lodge on and between tooth surfaces, such as gumdrops, toffee, dried fruits, etc. Sticky foods are retained in the mouth longer and as a result, the acid which destroys the tooth is produced for a longer period of time. The consistency of the snacks increases the risk of getting cavities more than the amount eaten.
  • Natural sugars (found in fruit, milk, bananas) have the same effect on your teeth as refined sugars (found in soda pop, ice-cream, cake). Healthy foods should not be avoided, however, brushing afterwards is important in the prevention of tooth decay.
  • Don't eat sugar-rich foods that stay in the mouth and prolong the acid attack, such as gum, hard candies, lollipops, etc.
  • If you do serve sweets, serve them with meals. Increased saliva flow during meals helps neutralize the effects of sugar.
  • Brushing and flossing after snacks and meals is important in preventing cavities that can form from exposure to sugar.

Information on Snacks

Nutritionally and Dentally Acceptable

low in sugar / high in nutrients

popcorn plain yogurt
vegetables eggs
fruits enriched or whole-wheat bread
nuts and seeds whole grain cereal
meat plain milk
cheese tossed salads
coleslaw plain muffins


Nutritionally Acceptable but Poor for Teeth

high in sugar / high in nutrients

raisins pudding
dried fruits chocolate milk
ice cream fruit leather
milkshakes granola bars


Nutritionally and Dentally Least Desirable

high in sugar / low in nutrients

cakes/pies gummy bears
cookies sherbet
candy popsicles
jam chocolate bars

If you HAVE to eat this stuff, a sensible approach is to make allowance for them once in a while. Ideally, eat snacks at a time and place which allows you to brush your teeth afterwards.

This site is intended as general information only and should not
replace regular consultation with Dr.Talcott or the
Dental Hygienist. Copyright 2003 Dr Bob Talcott, DDS

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