Dental Health Tips: “Beware of Things That Go “Crunch”

Who does not love the nice, satisfying crunch of a potato chip? Unfortunately, potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you brush and floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

Some starchy and sugary containing foods that crunch include pretzels, potato chips, cookies, and candy bars.

The processed sugar used in cookies and candy bars is made of equal amounts of the simpler sugars glucose and fructose. These are joined by chemical bonds. Starches in pretzels and potato chips are made up of many simple sugars joined chemically.

Since starches are pasty and sticky, they stick to smooth surfaces, crevices and even hug the neck of the tooth at the gum line. They do not easily rinse away with a drink or water, and either depend on saliva to partially digest them or on the motion of the tongue or a toothbrush to remove them.

Your tongue has hundreds of tiny filamentous structures called papillae that are akin to a toothbrush bristle. These help to sweep away food particles from the inside surfaces of the teeth. The outside surfaces have only the smooth cheeks in contact, so they are not as easily cleaned. Frequently cavities begin on the outside of the back teeth near the gum line, since these are the areas that are the most difficult to be cleaned by the natural motion of the tongue.

When you brush, the mechanical action of the toothbrush bristles dislodges food particles and sticky substances so they can be rinsed or swallowed away. Using rinse water when brushing helps dissolve the sugars and starches more easily. Toothpaste is a useful adjunct to help abrade away the plaque that has formed because of bacteria which have broken down the sugars adhering to the teeth.

When you keep your teeth free of sticky sugars and starches, the hard enamel coating stays strong, and helps proper chewing to improve digestion. In return, a properly functioning set of teeth helps you stay healthy throughout your life.

Call us today at 732-219-8900 for an appointment or courtesy consultation if you think you have cavities.