Sticky means sugary!
Sticky foods generally have a high sugar content – their sugar gives them their stickiness! And snacking on them or eating them regularly increases the risk of tooth decay. Here’s why . . .
Why ‘sticky’ is a bigger problem for teeth . . .
Diet choices are as important for dental health as general health. Sticky foods are considered a special category of sweets because their sticky residue resists the normal cleansing action of saliva. This means the natural bacteria in the mouth feed on concentrated sugary deposits for longer – producing their acidic by-products for longer. Bacterial activity is normal and occurs after any eating and drinking. Acids generated draw minerals out of the enamel leaving it, for a time after eating, more vulnerable to wear. Caries and decay result from this type of wear or erosion.
Normally about 20 minutes after eating, the mineral content in enamel is restored in a process known as remineralisation. It’s not difficult to see then that ‘grazing’ by sucking or chewing one lolly after another over several hours 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.