How Eating Junk Food Affects Your Teeth

by Dr. Yasaman Garakani on October 13, 2015

A woman eating junk food - a donut while holding a second donut

It’s hard to quit snacking junk food completely, especially with Halloween just around the corner. And it’s hard to brush and floss after every snack. So what can you do? It’s not necessary to quit snacking on junk food entirely. There are a few things you can do to prevent yourself and your children from ending up in the dentist chair with a cavity or tooth decay right after Halloween.

The main reason that junk food is so bad for you is its abundance of sugar. Most of our favourite junk foods contain an abundance of sugar – that’s why they’re called junk food. Snacking on these kinds of treats and sipping on sugary drinks throughout the day increases the likelihood of tooth decay. Bacteria found naturally in the mouth feed on the sugars in these treats, which create acids and erode the enamel on teeth. If these sugars aren’t brushed or rinsed off, the acid continues to eat away at the tooth enamel, wearing it down and leading to tooth decay which can eventually lead to requiring a crown or even a root canal.

What Can I Do to Prevent Cavities from Junk Food?

The easy answer is to avoid it entirely. But that’s not as easy as it sounds for most of us. It’s okay to indulge in junk foods occasionally, but if you do, follow these tips from the Smile Dental Centre so you can keep your teeth protected while you do. 

  • Eat a wide variety of snacks, including healthy alternatives like lean protein, vegetables and fruits. Eat these healthy snacks first and you’ll have less room in your stomach for those cavity-causing chocolates and candy.
  • Avoid sugary drinks like sodas and sports drinks. The acid and sugar in these kinds of drinks stay on your teeth afterwards and eat way at your enamel. Instead, try sipping on water while snacking. This will wash away any food particles and sugars stuck on and in between the surfaces of your teeth.
  • If you do eat sugary foods, try to get rid of the food particles and sugars on your teeth as soon as possible. Try carrying a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you. If this isn’t possible, rinse your mouth out with water after eating to clear away these particles. If possible, follow that up with some mouthwash to give yourself fresh breath after eating.
Young girl hold broccoli in one hand giving it a strange look and ice cream in the other hand.
  • Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies are a good choice. These candies stimulate saliva in the mouth.  Plaque builds up faster in a dry mouth and increases your risk of developing cavities.
  •  Sugar-free gum is another good choice. In the same way as lollipops and hard candies, gum increases saliva and works to neutralize the acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay. It also has the added benefit of helping clean your teeth by dislodging food particles from between them.
  • Dark chocolate is always better than milk chocolate.  According to some studies, dark chocolate is actually good for your heart and may even lower your blood pressure.

 What Treats Are The Best Choice For Our Teeth?

As always, if you are looking for healthy alternatives to sugary snacks, consult with your dentist for the best options. At the Smile Dental Centre, we’re committed to educating you on the best ways to keep your teeth healthy and strong, so we’re always willing to suggest healthy snack choices for you and your children’s dental care.

If you are looking for a reliable dentist in London, Ontario, please contact us or ask for details on your next visit on how to enjoy tasty treats while keeping your teeth cavity-free!

Smile Dental Centre

1350 Fanshawe Park Road W. Unit 2
London, Ontario, Canada
N6G 5B1
t: 519.471.9630
f: 519.471.9610

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