As promised, here is part two of our four-part series on surprising foods that are bad for teeth. We hope this piece helps you learn more about tooth-friendly nutrition and dental care for National Dental Health Month.
When we think of the foods that are bad for our teeth, we immediately think of candy. Bacteria thrive on sugar, and candy is one of the most obvious culprits. To avoid cavities, parents often give children crackers and baked goods to satisfy their cravings in lieu of candy. Even those who are vigilant about brushing may not think twice about the effect of starchy foods on their oral health.
The truth is sweets aren’t the only thing that can cause cavities. Potato chips, biscuits, crackers, bread, and other starches are bad news as well. These items become soft or sticky when chewed, easily getting lodged into your teeth. While they may not taste sweet, their starches break down into sugar by enzymes in the mouth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that starchy foods may even be worse for your teeth than candy because of the amount of time they stick on teeth after a snack.
According to a national survey commissioned by the AAPD, 96% of U.S. adults with children under 12 thought a cracker was better for teeth than a piece of caramel. The AAPD continued saying: “The truth is that starches can lead to cavities just as sugars can, and caramels dissolve more quickly from the mouth than crackers…A cracker may be more figure-friendly, but it is not a teeth-friendly snack.”
If you are looking for alternatives for your child, our Katy pediatric dentist suggests snacking on apple slices or celery with hummus or peanut butter for flavor. These items are a lot healthier for your child’s teeth! This is also not to say you should stop giving your child starchy foods at all. Rather, we encourage families to consume everything in moderation and always make sure to brush and floss at the end of the day.
While this doesn’t mean bread and starches are entirely unhealthy, it certainly sheds some light on seemingly innocent foods may be worse for our teeth than we think. For more information about pediatric dentistry and nutrition, feel free to contact your pediatric dentist at Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy.