Today is National Junk Food Day, a holiday to celebrate and enjoy all of your favorite guilty gastronomic pleasures. While sipping on soda, munching on chips, and feasting on fried Twinkies can be fun, and certainly tasty, these snacks can wreak havoc on your smile. Houston dentist Dr. Craig Armstrong and our team want you to have your cake and eat it too while preserving your dental health. Obviously, avoiding unnecessary junk foods can help you maintain your oral and general health, but there are steps you can take to take care of and repair your smile even as you indulge in junk foods. Read on to learn more about how you can preserve and enhance your smile even in the midst of National Junk Food Day.
Consequences of Junk Food
Certain snacks are referred to as “junk” for a reason. In addition to contributing to weight gain and having little nutritional value, many of these snacks can seriously impact your dental health. There are several aspects of junk foods that can lead to decay:
- They are often very sugary. The cavity-causing bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and then produce acids that can degrade your enamel.
- They can be full of starch. While carbohydrates are undeniably delicious, they can affect your teeth in the same way as sugar.
- Sticky junk foods adhere to your enamel. Gummy candies, taffy, tootsie rolls, and other treats can remain on your teeth for hours after you eat them, giving bacteria even more time to consume them and create caries.
- Acidic foods and beverages can directly impact your enamel. Foods that are high in acid can erode your enamel, causing decay and making your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria.
- People tend to nibble on junk food for hours. The more frequently you munch on junk foods, the greater the impact they can have on your teeth. For example, absentmindedly munching on chips or candies while watching television constantly exposes your enamel to these junk foods’ effects.
Our Tips for Careful Consumption
In an ideal world, no one would eat unhealthy foods. However, we recognize that sometimes, you need to enjoy some junk food (perhaps especially on their national holiday!). When you eat your favorite munchies, you can protect your teeth by:
- Drinking and swishing with water directly after you’ve finished eating.
- Limiting your consumption to a set period of time rather than throughout the day.
- Chewing xylitol gum. This sweet-tasting compound can prevent decay-causing bacteria from reproducing, lowering your risk for cavities.
- Brushing and flossing as soon as possible after indulging.
Mending Your Teeth with Composite Fillings
The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research reports: “92% of adults 20 to 64 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth” and “26% of adults 20 to 64 have untreated decay.” If your junk food habit has damaged your enamel, Houston dentist Dr. Armstrong and our team members can help you repair your smile with composite fillings. He will match these sturdy, cosmetic restorations to the shade of your natural enamel for a realistic, aesthetic appearance. To place a composite filling, Dr. Armstrong will remove the decayed portion of your tooth, clean it, insert the resin, shape it, and cure it with a special light.
Celebrate National Junk Food Day Wisely
Houston dentist Dr. Armstrong can help you relish your preferred junk foods while protecting your smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or find out more.