You’re in the grocery store wondering what to buy for the kids’ snacks. You remember the dentist saying, “sugar causes cavities”, so that means no candy. What about crackers? Those are safe? After all, they’re salty, not sweet, and are high in fibre.
Unfortunately, this is a common misconception, and it may be fueling the decay in your child’s mouth. The bacteria that cause cavities feed on simple sugars. Foods such as chips, bread, pasta or crackers can be as harmful to the teeth as candy. Once they hit the mouth, starchy foods made from flour are quickly broken down into simple sugars. Those pesky bacteria will then metabolize that sugar to produce acid, which breaks down the teeth. Carbohydrates, no matter how they are made or packaged (salty, sweet, organic, home-made, store-bought), are capable of causing tooth decay.
What make a good dental snack? We often encourage parents to serve:
- Hard cheese
- Fresh vegetables including celery, carrots or cucumber (not starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn or yams)
- Meat (not breaded, and avoid sauces such as BBQ, sweet and sour, ketchup or plum)
- Fruit (this is gray area, an apple is better than apple juice, be cautious with sticky fruits like bananas or dried fruits like raisins)