The short version is….don’t do it!!!
However I know that no-one lives in the perfect world and we all lead busy lives, catching something to eat where and when we can. I thought it would be useful to present a few facts to help you see what constant snacking will do to your teeth over time as the decay rate is again on the increase.
Lets start with SUGAR. Sugar is very bad for teeth and I’m not just talking about a spoonful of the white granulated version here. I come across many patients who tell me that they have no sugar in their diet and I really would love to see this. Look on packets – it may not be obvious but it will be there somewhere under many different names. Even the naturally occurring sugar in fruit still counts.
Each time we eat the pH in the mouth changes and it becomes a more acidic environment. Our precious teeth are basically made from chalk and as we may remember from our chemistry days acid eats away chalk. So little by little the acidity involved with eating something will slowly but surely lead to a ‘weakening’ of teeth. I put it that way because given time the teeth will remineralise themselves and become strong again. The key word here is TIME so if you snack every half hour or hour you do not give your teeth the time they need to remineralise themselves and cavities will begin.
Many of my patients will know I go on about PLAQUE, this is primarily made up of bacteria and when mixed with sugar they go crazy. However after about 30/40 minutes the mouth gets back to its natural pH and the teeth can repair themselves. This process can be speeded up by chewing sugar free gum or by eating a small cube of cheese after a meal or a few plain peanuts.
There have been hundreds of clinical studies done on how many ‘hits’ a day our teeth can cope with and the magic number is 5. So we can have Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner and two additional snacks drinking water between meals. Above 5 hits leads to a huge increase in cavities. Think about it – the sugar in tea or coffee counts as a hit, having a biscuit or grazing on a box of raisins, popcorn, grapes or crisps are all going to cause harm. So is sipping fruit juice, smoothies, fizzy soda and wine!
So when you sit at your desk nibbling your way through that box of grapes or biscuits spare a thought for your teeth or you might get a nasty surprise at your next dental check up.
For more helpful advice regarding your teeth why not call 020 7453 5354 and book an appointment with one of our hygienists today.