“Healthy” Snacks That are Harmful to Oral Health

It’s a new year, and if you’re one of the millions of Americans who has vowed to improve your health and wellness, then kudos to you! We think it’s great that you’re taking this time of year to reflect and work on improving your health. For many, losing the pounds that have crept on over the years is the top priority. With good nutrition and plenty of exercise, you can reach your goal, and we’re cheering for you! But we’d also like to draw attention to a potential issue with eating better. Did you know that there are several “healthy” snacks that can be harmful to your oral health? While a plethora of options are available, think twice about enjoying some of these potentially hurtful snacks.

Citrus Fruits

Who wouldn’t think that grabbing an orange as a snack or adding lemon to your water is a healthy alternative? And while they are a lot better than some other choices, overdoing citrus fruit can compromise your teeth by eroding your enamel. Similarly, consuming citrus fruit juices is also a no-no. Not only are they loaded in sugar, the enamel eating acid is highly concentrated. In a 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that grapefruit juice is almost as erosive as Coca-Cola. You don’t have to avoid these altogether, (Vitamin C is actually critical in maintaining healthy gums), but we suggest consuming whole fruits with a glass of water and limiting the juices.

Almonds

This super-popular snack packs a nutritional punch. They’re high in vitamin E and full of healthy fats. But in terms of oral health, they can pose a real problem. When you eat almonds, they can create a wedge when you bite down and can actually cause a tooth fracture. Avoid this painful mishap and opt for the sliced variety as opposed to the whole nut.

Pickled Foods

Pickles are super low in calories while big on flavor, making them a popular snack for dieters. But pickled foods have very high acid content, caused by the vinegar, and can de-mineralize your teeth. They are usually high in cavity-causing sugar too, which is another concern. If you can’t give up your pickle habit, simply neutralize the acid after consuming with a bite of cheese, or a piece of sugar-free gum with xylitol.

Dried Fruit

While a great on-the-go snack, dried fruit is highly concentrated with sugar and tends to cling to your teeth, trapping a lot of bacteria with it. In order to avoid this sticky situation, swish water after consuming and brush your teeth about 20 minutes later.

Peanut Butter

This protein packed and highly satisfying snack is a dieter’s best friend, but beware, this sticky treat tends to hang out on teeth for quite some time, even after snack-time is over. Because most peanut butters contain a lot of added sugar, this can pose a real problem. Next time you’re perusing the peanut butter aisle at the grocery store, take the time to look at labels and choose a variety that doesn’t contain a lot of added sugars.

Best of luck in your endeavor to get healthy! We hope that you stick to your game plan, eat better and move more. Stay motivated, stay educated, and make great choices, and you’re sure to reach your goals in no time!

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