If you work from home, you know how easy it is to go to the kitchen and grab a snack. But what will you choose? When you're feeling tired, hungry, or stressed, you'll likely succumb to whatever you're craving. For most of us, it’s something sweet or salty. However, the snacks that may be satisfying to our brain may not be great for our teeth. Instead, try the following bites when working from home.
1. Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products
Many of us grew up learning that dairy products are good for healthy bones and teeth, but how? Turns out, dairy contains calcium, phosphorus, and caseins. When combined, they create a protective film on the enamel. This protective coating aids in preventing tooth decay caused by common bacterial acids. So if you must eat a sugary snack, drink some milk afterward to lower the harmful acidic levels in your mouth.
2. An apple a day keeps bacteria away
Although apples are sweet, they are also high in water and fiber. When you eat an apple, your mouth produces more saliva, which helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria. Also, the texture of apples stimulates the gums, so it's a double win.
3. Spinach and kale promote oral health
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are great tooth-healthy snacks because they're packed full of calcium and folic acid. Calcium builds tooth enamel while the folic acid, a type of vitamin B, can help with your gums. So add some spinach or kale to your salad, pizza, or smoothie for your next tooth-healthy snack.
4. Load your snack bowl with nuts
Almonds help protect your teeth because they're rich in phosphorus. Plus, they're a great source of calcium and protein. You can add this healthy food to your salad or stir fry and you won't be disappointed. Other nuts to consider are cashews, walnuts, and pistachios. All you need is a quarter cup of almonds if you desire a quick and healthy snack.
5. Don't forget about celery
If you're looking for a snack that brings a crunch, opt for celery instead of potato chips. Celery acts almost like a toothbrush, as it scrubs off build-up and stimulates saliva to wash away what's left.1 In addition, it's a great source of vitamins A and C, which boosts the health of your gums.
6. Drink water instead (or tea)
A dry mouth lacks saliva, which is your mouth's first defense against tooth decay. Water can keep your mouth moist and help wash away food particles and bacteria. Also, drinking water with fluoride helps in preventing cavities. You can always add fruit to your water to give it some flavor.
If you desire something other than water while snacking, look to green or black teas. Both types of tea have polyphenols, which can kill bacteria.2 As a result, this could help prevent bacteria from growing acid and attacking your teeth.
The key to finding a tooth-healthy snack
Next time you're trying to decide what tooth-healthy snack to eat while working from home, ask yourself these three questions:
- What is the texture of the snack? Chewy and sticky snacks adhere to teeth, create acid, and erode tooth enamel.
- How long will the food stay in your mouth? Some snacks stay in your mouth longer than foods that you quickly chew and swallow. As a result, it's like giving your teeth a continuous sugar bath.
- How many times per day will I consume snacks? If you snack multiple times per day, then you'll want to choose something that doesn't have a lot of sugar.
Certain snacks have a bad impact
As you rummage through your pantry, cabinets, and refrigerator for a snack, try to find something good for your teeth. Unfortunately, many snacks that we like so much are not. Consider some of the common things we consume that aren't so good for our teeth:
- Empty calorie foods - Not only do empty-calorie foods not have any nutritional value, but they also contain a lot of sugar.3 Snacks like candy, cookies, and chips carry large amounts of a type of sugar that sticks to the teeth, produces acid, and causes decay. In other words, they are a cause of dental concern, and consumption should be limited.
- Acidic foods - Many acidic foods are considered healthy, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. However, while they have nutritional value, they're hard on the teeth. The acid in the food causes tooth enamel to wear away, which leads to teeth discoloration. As tooth enamel weakens, demineralization occurs, which reveals your dentin and causes teeth sensitivity.
- Sugary beverages - Not only should you watch what you eat, but also what you drink to protect your teeth. While soda, juice, and sweetened tea or coffee are common drink staples, they promote tooth decay. Low pH beverages dissolve tooth enamel, especially if you don't use a straw. It's like constantly pouring a sugar bath on your teeth, so it's best to limit your intake.
Snack healthy while working from home
As you know, it's easy to get comfortable at home and start snacking often and unhealthily. However, this could have a poor impact on your teeth. Stock your kitchen with tooth-healthy snacks so it'll be easier to consume foods that boost your oral health. Check out this list to find other toothy-healthy foods that'll keep your teeth healthy both in and out of the office.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.