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Did you know? Americans typically eat three meals and anywhere from one to three in-between-meal snacks each day. While mealtimes are usually planned, snacks are more about whatever is quickest and easiest to grab when you’re feeling peckish at work, at school, or on the go. As such, we often reach for convenient foods like chips, crackers, hard candy, pretzels, and even candy bars and other vending-machine fare.
Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise that many of these foods aren’t exactly beneficial to your diet and, in fact, can actually be detrimental to your teeth and your overall dental health. Besides the obvious dangers of sugary snacks, high-carb foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels can get stuck in your teeth. Just like sugars, those carb-heavy food particles make tempting meals for the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
The good news is, there are other crunchy, convenient snack foods that not only avoid these problems, but can actually be good for your teeth. Start stocking up on some of these yummy foods that are tooth-friendly and come with your Kansas City family dentist’s seal of approval:
1. Carrots – Crunchy and nutritious, carrots (along with some of the other snacks on this list) have been called “nature’s toothbrush,” because of the way they help to “scrub” your teeth as you chew. Plus, they’re high in fiber and vitamin A.
2. Cranberries – Did you know? Cranberries can help to disrupt plaque formation on your teeth. How? Cranberries contain a nutrient that actually helps prevent bacteria from sticking together. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants and polyphenols, natural compounds that have all kinds of health benefits.
3. Celery – Another of “nature’s toothbrushes,” celery has the added benefit of being mostly water, so it’s extremely low in calories. That doesn’t mean it’s not nutritious, though. This delightfully crunchy snack is full of vitamins A and C.
4. Broccoli – Like celery and carrots, broccoli is a natural tooth cleaner. Just beware of getting bits of the floret stuck in your smile. Broccoli also offers plenty of vitamins C and K, both of which are important for building strong bones and helping your blood to clot properly.
5. Nuts – If you want that boost of energy and the satisfaction that comes with a candy bar, try reaching for a handful of nuts, instead. Nuts are where many candy bars get their energy, and they provide a more sustained boost than sugar. Plus, nuts contain calcium and protein, both of which are good for your teeth.
6. Kale chips – We get it. Sometimes you want a salty snack, and nothing else will do. Instead of potato chips or pretzels, though, try some kale chips! Kale has tons of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, and it’s much better for you (and your teeth) than most snack chips.
7. Apples and Pears – Need something to clean your teeth while you eat? You can do worse than a fresh apple or pear. Like carrots and celery, that fibrous crunch helps to scrub your teeth and stimulates saliva production.
The next time you’re looking for a quick snack, consider the impact your choice might have on your dental health. Instead of reaching for the candy or chips, pick something that’s not only tasty right now, but beneficial in the long run.
At Blacker Family Dental in Kansas City, MO, we specialize in family dentistry of all types, and we’re always happy to help you live your best life—and the one that’s best for your smile! Call (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment.