Carbohydrates and Tooth Decay
Many types of foods that sound healthy aren’t necessarily as good for us as we’d like to think. Any food high in carbohydrates (specifically fermentable carbohydrates), even if it isn’t sweet, is extremely hard on teeth. Some of the biggest culprits include crackers, pasta, pretzels, and potato chips. Other foods that promote dental decay, even though they’re often considered “good for you,” are fresh fruit, dried fruit, juices, milk products, jellies and jam, honey, peanut butter, breakfast cereals, and even condiments such as ketchup and salad dressings, which generally contain some type of sugar. This certainly isn’t to say that none of these foods should ever be consumed. Many foods high in carbohydrates are good for you when eaten as part of a balanced diet. You can easily minimize the risk of decay developing from the consumption of sugars and other carbohydrates by doing several things: • Eat high-carbohydrate foods as part of a meal, rather than as a snack. This will help minimize the impact of the sugars on your teeth. • Avoiding sticky foods, such as toffee or dried fruit, will also help. These types of sugary foods stick to the teeth, making it hard for saliva or water to wash them away. • Don’t allow your child to sip on juice, milk, or smoothies throughout the day. Have them consume them in one sitting, instead of prolonging the contact of these foods with their teeth. • Also, if your child does eat something sugary or high in carbs, make sure they brush their teeth after they are finished. If they are under the age of 6, brush their teeth for them. Looking for some healthy snack ideas for your kids? The American Dietetic Association has a great list!