I hesitate to put certain foods in the “cavity causing” category, because if you don’t brush your teeth you will get cavities no matter what you eat. However, there are foods out there that will make your teeth more prone to decay and infection than others. Sweets and starchy foods are prime examples – and then there’s energy bars.
People typically eat energy bars, like PowerBar, on the go as they’re heading out the door. They’re great at filling you up and giving you energy. But they’re not so great for your teeth. They’re sticky and chewy, so much so that not even a quick rinse with water will help your teeth.
Nutrition bars, which are often high in sugar and full of sticky ingredients, can cause cavities and are just as bad for your teeth as candy, soda, and starch. When food stays in your mouth for a while, that gives the bacteria longer time to feed on it. Bacteria produce acids which eat at tooth enamel and eventually cause tooth decay – and cavities.
If everyone brushed their teeth and flossed as soon as they finished eating, it wouldn’t be a problem. But many people eat nutrition bars in a hurry, as a meal replacement during a busy day at work, or in the car as a snack. For some, brushing afterwards is not an option.
So what else can you do?
Rinsing with water after eating and chewing sugarless gum can help. The nutrition bar itself isn’t “bad”, but leaving food on the surface of the teeth is the problem. So gum and water can help move the food off of your teeth. Chewing gum also changes the pH of your mouth which makes it more difficult for acid to destroy the tooth enamel.
It may also be helpful to keep some floss handy. Floss containers are small and can be easily kept in a purse, a desk, or in the car. Floss has the power to reach those tiny crevasses in your mouth that gum, water and the toothbrush just can’t get to. Floss, in fact, is essential for good oral care – whether you’re a energy bar consumer or not.
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