Here’s a surprise about cavities: It is not just sugary foods that cause tooth decay.

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You are healthier if your mouth is healthy too.  Here’s a surprise about cavities: It is not just sugary foods that cause tooth decay.  Even snacks often thought of as “healthy” such as bagels, juice, granola bars and raisins contribute to decay if consumed too often.

Sweet or high-carbohydrate foods and sweet drinks feed the germs in your mouth that cause cavities.  The germs make acids that eat into your teeth, leading to decay.  These acid attacks” last for 20 minutes after you eat or drink.

Drinking (anything other than water) and snacking or “grazing” frequently during the day means food and drink are on your teeth for a long time. This can lead to costly, and sometimes painful, cavities.  And painful cavities can make it difficult for kids to eat, sleep and learn. And it’s hard for adults to work with a throbbing toothache.

Teeth need time to rest and rebuild in between drinking and eating, just like your muscles need time to recover after exercising.  So eat your snack all at once rather than nibbling or sipping throughout the day.  If you can’t brush or floss after snacking, rinse your mouth with water.  This helps to get food off your teeth, reducing the acid attacks that cause cavities.

We all like snacks, but teeth don’t like snacks full of sugar or carbs. So choose healthy snacks for you and your kids.  Tooth-friendly foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and cheese benefit your waistline, and your oral and overall health.

Print out a kid-friendly guide to Smart Snacking, visit TheMightyMouth.org and unleash the power of oral health!