Did you know that April 18 is National Animal Crackers Day? These slightly sweetened crackers are a favourite of children everywhere and have been around since the 19th century. As a cookie, they’re a fairly good choice since they contain a lot less sugar than your average sweet treat.
Snacking can raise some important questions when it comes to caring for your teeth. There are so many snacks that contain hidden sugars – or maybe some not-so-hidden sugars.
So what is the best way to curb your mid-afternoon hunger without overindulging in tooth-harming sugary treats? Here are a few guilt-free snack ideas for healthy teeth:
Fresh or preserved fruit
If you have a hankering for something sweet, try fruit over cakes or cookies. Fruit contains fructose, a natural sugar, so it does have some effect on your oral health. As with all things, snack in moderation. You can choose either fresh or canned fruit but steer clear of dried fruit as it tends to stick to your teeth and cause decay. If you do opt for canned fruit, make sure it’s preserved in natural juice rather than high fructose corn syrup or other sugar syrup. Fruit is a great way to get sweet variety in your diet without putting your teeth at risk.
Here’s a fun fact: Apples are actually good for your teeth! Often called “nature’s toothbrush,” this fibrous fruit can scrub away plaque buildup and kill nasty bacteria. Of course, make sure you don’t actually substitute an apple for brushing your teeth.
If you’re a dairy fan, you can get excited: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are full of calcium, which is vital for strengthening your teeth. However, you should be careful when choosing a yogurt – many brands are full of sugar, which, of course, is bad news for oral health.
Instead of a sugary kind, opt for plain or lightly sweetened Greek yogurt. Then, get creative with the taste, adding cinnamon or other mix-ins to make a more interesting snack.
If you’re a vegetable fan, you’re in luck: There are a lot of vegetables that are great for your teeth. Hard, fibrous veggies like celery and carrots remove plaque from teeth and are naturally low in sugar. What’s more, many people report that as they eat less sugar and more vegetables and fruits, they start to feel more satisfied by the natural sweetness in produce. Just think about satisfying your sweet tooth with a sweet, juicy carrot.
Nuts and Seeds
Peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and other nuts and seeds contain healthy minerals that are vital for healthy tooth enamel. This enamel is often stripped by damaging foods containing acid, such as citrus. If you want to give your enamel a boost, try snacking on your favourite nuts and seeds occasionally. Not only are they delicious and good for your teeth; they’re also full of good protein that will leave you feeling satisfied. It’s a great alternative to sugary treats that hurt your teeth.