Most of us cannot resist the urge to snack away. Whether you are binging or simply taking the edge off hunger before a major meal, snacking is often a cherished everyday eating habit. When done mindfully, it can be an important source of essential nutrients as well as other health promoting substances. It is also a way to try out various treats.

However, an aspect of snacking that is often overlooked is its impact on our dental health. Careless snacking can pose a serious health danger to our dental and oral health. Some of your favourite snacks such as chocolate or even dried fruits could also be your biggest enemies. However, not all snacks are bad. Some snacks such as crisps or even chocolate bars could actually be good for your teeth even though your dietician will strongly disagree. If you are dieting and still want to maintain healthy teeth while snacking, you will need to strike a very delicate balance in your food choices. Poor snacking habits are some of the main causes of tooth decay and erosion. Your sweet tooth could be detrimental to the health of your teeth.

Here is a look at the ways in which snacking can affect your teeth:

Snacking Could Cause Dental Erosion

This is one of the main ways in which snacks can adversely affect your teeth. If you snack a lot on foods that contain lots of acid such as oranges and yoghurt, then you are likely going to erode your enamel fairly quickly and you may end up with translucent teeth which pose their own sets of problems. The acid in the snacks may also slowly wear out the teeth and eventually give them a flattened look.

If you experience dental erosion over an extended duration of time, your teeth are going to lose their cusps and begin to shrink. The cusps are the pointed tips that give the teeth their shape. There are severe cases where excessive snacking on the wrong kind of food has led to a complete erosion of enamel leaving the dentine-the live part of your tooth- fully exposed.

Beyond a certain point of dental erosion, your teeth may also begin to turn yellowish and exhibit some grey halos. At this point, you will likely need more elaborate tooth restoration procedures such as dental veneers and crowns that can be quite costly.

Sugar Decay

If you are taking too much sugary food, then you are likely to suffer from sugar decay. The sugar in the foods will react with the plaque on your teeth to create acids that damage your teeth even further.

The acid can corrode the enamel and expose the dentine on your teeth. In worst cases, they can bore holes in the tooth that can cause an abscess. Treatment often involves costly filling procedures.

Are there snacks that are good for your teeth?

Not all snacks are bad, however. There are certain categories of snacks that can actually be good for your dental health. These include foods such as plain yoghurt, apples, walnuts, raw almonds, cheese and bananas among others. Raw vegetables can also be good for your teeth.