Since returning to our normal hours in June we have seen an increase in dental decay. The most obvious reason for this is SNACKING. With children being home more there has been an increase in the amount of screen time and increased exposure to the pantry. Studies have linked screen time with low fruit and vegetable consumption and high intake of unhealthy snacks such as chips and sweets.
Saliva has a natural pH between 6-7. Every time we eat the pH in our mouth drops below 5.5 making our mouths very acidic. This will demineralize small amounts of tooth structure giving the cavity-causing bacteria an opportunity to thrive. In a healthy mouth roughly 20 minutes after eating/drinking the pH recovers and rises above the 5.5 threshold where cavities form allowing for your teeth to remineralize. When the system is in balance, the natural pH of our mouth will prevent cavities from forming.
But as shown in the graph, constant snacking or “grazing” causes the pH in our mouth to become acidic for more periods of time, leading to more demineralization than remineralization and therefore allowing cavities to form.
Below are some tips to help:
- Drink plenty of water: Have water readily available to your child all day and don’t allow them to sip on any sugary drinks between meal
- Brush and Floss after Lunch. With your child being home for lunch make sure they add an extra session of brushing and flossing a day
- Avoid sugary or carbohydrate snacks between meals. Snacking often is not necessary and we understand that. Choose food such as yogurt, apples, nuts, or
- Give carbohydrate “snacks” with meals. Starches made from white flour are simple carbohydrates. They break down into simple sugars in the body which can lead to tooth decay. Instead of giving chips and goldfish as a snack give it with their lunch when saliva flow is at its highest.
- Make sure your child has their routine dental exam and cleaning. Please check our new office policies during COVID and as always feel free to call us at 215-860-9808 if you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Ross Levine is a board certified pediatric dentist and has been honored by both
The Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Magazine as a
Top Pediatric Dentist in Bucks County.