* Firm foods like apples and celery have a high water content which helps buffer the sugars they contain. Also, crunchy snacks actually rub some of the sticky plaque right off of your teeth.
* Cheeses, nuts, chicken and milk can protect tooth enamel by providing calcium and phosphorus. These minerals help our teeth repair themselves after each acidic attack.
* Raisins, although very sticky, contain antibacterial properties. Cheddar cheese also helps buffer the saliva pH. Both of these are good choices for snacking in between meals.
*Foods that are acidic, such as fruits and tomatoes should be eaten as part of a larger meal. This will reduce the effects of their acid on your teeth.
*Finish any meal with a few sips of water. Rinsing with water helps to bring the pH in your mouth back to normal.
The most important thing to remember is that sugar is a food source for the germs in your mouth. Any snacking, especially on sweets and carbohydrates, will grow more bacteria and put you at a higher risk for decay. Along with healthy eating habits, brushing twice a day to remove germs above the gum line and flossing once a day to remove the germs under the gum line is the best way to ward off cavities.
Here is a helpful little formula:
SUGAR + BACTERIA = ACID
ACID + TEETH = DECAY
pH- a measure of acidity or basicity of any solution. A pH less than 7 is acidic and a solution with a pH greater than 7 is basic (alkaline). Pure water has a pH very close to 7 and your saliva should also stay as close to neutral as possible