Why are crunchy foods bad for children’s teeth? 

There’s nothing like the satisfying crunch of certain food. For instance, it is tough for people to stop the urge to grab the popcorn when they are watching a movie. 

However, snack foods such as chips, crispy chickpeas, crackers, roasted nuts, baked tortilla chips and pretzels can be harmful to teeth. Particles of these crunchy foods can get stuck in the grooves in your teeth and over time can cause tooth decay.

But even more dangerous than particles, we also have to be mindful of the force needed to crunch that food into digestible sizes. 

Crunchy food like nuts require a lot more pressure to chew, and can require more chewing in general, than other food.. If these teeth have a weak spot, or perhaps the enamel isn’t very strong, the pressure of crunching down on a nut could cause a crack in the tooth. This crack becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and accelerates damage to the tooth.

If your child has a filling – it is important to note that fillings by nature are not as hard as tooth enamel and therefore are the “weak spots” in your teeth. So when your child eats nuts or hard granola bars daily for a snack they could be shaking the filling loose, or deforming it, with the pressure of heavy chewing and crunching. 

Tips for enjoying crunchy food safely.

Carrots, celery, pita chips, almonds, and peppers all provide a healthy crunch without the drawbacks of junk food. These options aren’t quite as hard to chew, either, and provide valuable nutrients without all the sugar.

However, if you are going to give your child  crunchier foods like nuts, peanut brittle, hard candy, etc. make sure to encourage them to drink lots of water while enjoying the snack. It helps to soften the food. Also, try to limit the number of crunchy food items in a day so that you are not putting unnecessary wear on your child’s dental enamel. 

An occasional crunchy snack can be ok, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing.

Raw vegetables and crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery are great because they stimulate salivation, a natural defense against tooth decay and gum disease. They also contain beta-carotene, which your body needs to make vitamin A (an essential nutrient for developing strong teeth). 

Now when you want something with a crunch, remember to give your teeth a healthy boost too!

Healthy Crunchy Foods

Fruit and vegetables such as carrots, pea pods, jicama, apples, and celery all give your mouth a workout that can clear away plaque and bacteria, while also providing a delicious source of fiber for your diet.

For example, carrots and celery stimulate the flow of saliva, which is part of your mouth’s natural defense system against plaque and bacteria that are the building blocks of tooth decay. 

When it comes to nuts, they are a great source of protein! But like with all things, in moderation is the key to good balanced health. 

While most crunchy food seems healthy, organic, and all natural, it can also be manufactured in the forms of hard candies, chips, pretzels, and granola bars. It is important that we are mindful of the crunchy food we are providing our bodies. 

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