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The Risk of Frequent Snacking and Sipping

Did you know that your mouth is the second largest and diverse bacterial home in your body? The first is our gut, or intestinal tract. There is much discussion recently about improving gut health, but our mouths are the first point of digestion and extremely important to our overall health. Bacteria in our mouths can live in and on both hard (teeth, bone) and soft (gingiva, tongue, tonsils) tissues.

Bacteria enjoy consuming many of the same foods that we do. Much of our diet consists of sugars and carbohydrates. Bacteria eat these foods and that produces acid. This in turn attacks the tooth surface and weakens it. With repeated acid attacks, the bacteria finds a pinhole area on the surface and finds its way into the tooth. Voila’! This is the start of a cavity.

It is very popular today to follow various dietary recommendations that include frequent mini meals and smoothies/juicing. While these may be helpful for other areas of our bodies, in the oral cavity this results in multiple acid attacks every day! What can you do if you are concerned about your frequent snacking and sipping? For some it may be difficult to adhere to a three meals a day lifestyle. Of course, the easiest change is to drink more water throughout the day. Water is a natural cleanser for the body and does the same for your mouth. If you have just finished a meal or snack, the newest recommendation is to rinse your mouth with water or a xylitol mouthwash, such as Spry. You can also chew xylitol sugar-free gum as another option. These suggestions are in alignments with our holistic practices at Tarantola Dentistry. At each prophylaxis and exam appointment our team will review your home care routines and provide nutritional counseling so that you can have the healthiest mouth possible!


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