The Washington Dental Service Foundation has launched a public awareness campaign promoting oral health, with a key message that snacking on certain foods between meals can cause problems.
"In fact, continual snacking or grazing, even on seemingly healthy foods, can lead to excessive 'time on teeth,'" a foundation news release said, adding that teeth need time to rest and repair between meals.
A survey of oral health behaviors and attitudes found that 47 percent of Washington's population apparently is snacking enough to potentially hurt their teeth by coating them with food, sugar or acidic drinks such as soda, orange juice, sports drinks and wine, the release said.
"Eating starchy foods and drinking sugary or acidic beverages throughout the day prompts acid to attack the tooth enamel. Once tooth enamel has eroded, it leaves teeth vulnerable to a variety of problems that can be painful, costly and affect overall health," said Dr. Jo Jackson, of the University of Washington's Department of Family Medicine, in the release.
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The foundation has some recommendations, including limiting consumption of sweet foods and drinks to meal times, eating snacks all at once instead of nibbling over time, drinking water -- especially fluoridated water -- between meals and after snacks, brushing twice a day and flossing every day and choosing snacks such as carrots, fruits, nuts or cheese, which are more "tooth-friendly."
For more information, go to www.TheMightyMouth.org.