Sticky foods are in a category of their own!
It’s well known that diet choices are important for dental health as well as our general health. Sticky foods are generally ‘sticky’ because of their high sugar content, and frequent snacking on them increases the risk of tooth decay.
These foods are a special category of sweets because their sticky residue is not easily washed away by saliva.
Normal bacterial activity after eating
Oral bacterial activity is normal and occurs after any eating and drinking. A sticky residue means the bacteria in the mouth feed on concentrated sugary deposits for longer. The acids generated draw minerals from the enamel which leaves it, for a time after eating, more vulnerable to wear or erosion. Caries and decay result from this type of erosion.
The mineral content in enamel is restored in around 20 minutes a process known as remineralisation. It’s not difficult to see then that ‘grazing’ by sucking or chewing one lolly after another over the period of a day, results in an almost continuous acid bath assault on the teeth.
Sticky foods include:
Honey, jam, chocolate, chewing gum with sugar, chewy candies and toffees. Many people don’t realise that dried fruit – long considered a healthy snack – is also a sticky food and frequent snacking can cause dental problems.
Enjoy these foods as an occasional treat. Aim to eat them at mealtimes, rinse or drink plenty of water and later, pay particular attention to brushing.