What effect does snacking, specifically on baked goods and sugary foods, have on your patient’s teeth? An article from Ireland claims the new snacking culture in offices causes tooth decay due to the increase in consumption of sugary foods. Although the article is from Ireland, the snacking culture is prevalent in the United States as well.
In the snacking culture, managers use sugary baked goods as rewards for employees. Coworkers can also use sugary snacks to celebrate a special occasion. The workplace is now where people consume the majority of the sugar in their diets. The amounts of sugar intake seen in offices can increase people’s weight and damage their oral health. Snacking on sugary or starchy foods between meals can be particularly harmful to oral health causing tooth decay.
Tooth decay, which is entirely preventable, is prominent in adults aged 20-64 in the United States. In fact, the National Institutes of Health claim that 92% of adults aged 20-64 have dental caries in their permanent teeth. Further, 26% of adults aged 20-64 have untreated tooth decay.
Snacking between meals may contribute to the high rates of tooth decay in the United States. Eating sugary foods often could be more damaging to a person’s oral health than the amount of sugar they eat. After a person eats sugar, his or her mouth becomes acidic, which can soften teeth. After two hours, a person’s saliva will neutralize his or her mouth. If a person is constantly snacking on sugary foods, his or her mouth will not get the chance to neutralize the acidity. His or her teeth will not reharden, which leads to tooth decay.
This article calls for a change in the snacking culture at work. The author urges people to buy smaller amounts of baked goods, or to pick healthier snack alternatives such as fruit, nuts, or cheese.