What’s your favorite way to end a busy week? For many, it is curling up on the couch to watch a movie with a big bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Americans eat approximately 15 billion quarts of it every single year! While this delicious, crunchy snack may be much better for your health than starchy potato chips or sugary cookies, popcorn is actually horrible for your teeth for many different reasons. Continue reading to learn more about how popcorn and oral health are related.
How Is Popcorn Harmful for Your Smile?
There are several different dangers out there when it comes to eating popcorn. Here are just a few things about it that can hurt your smile:
- Lactic Acid: Popcorn is one of the many foods on the market that creates lactic acid in your mouth. If you don’t already know, acid and teeth are not a good combination. The lactic acid strips the protective enamel from your teeth and can leave them vulnerable to tooth decay, sensitivity, and other issues.
- Popcorn Hulls: You already know this frustration. You finished a bucket of popcorn and can feel a popcorn hull stuck between your teeth and sometimes under your gum. These can be difficult to remove and painful! If you don’t get this out, it can even irritate the gum tissue and lead to an abscess.
- Unpopped Kernels: This common issue is one that you might have already come across as well. When you pop popcorn, not all of the seeds end up popping. There are always leftover kernels mixed in at the bottom. If you aren’t careful enough, you could end up biting really hard on one. Since these objects are so hard, you could break or crack your tooth in the process.
What Should You Have Instead of Popcorn?
Now that popcorn is clearly a no go when it comes to choosing snacks, what should you have instead? No one wants to watch a movie empty handed. Here are a few snacks that are less likely to have a harmful effect on your smile:
- Salted Nuts: Instead of salty popcorn, have some salted nuts. They are rich in protein and can help to strengthen your teeth. They also promote saliva production which helps to wash away lingering bacteria and food debris in your mouth.
- Cheese: Dairy products, like cheese, are a good source of calcium and promote strong teeth. Cheese also contains a protein called casein which strengthens tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
- Veggies and Dip: High fiber fruits and vegetables are great for your smile. Try having carrots, celery, or cucumber. If you don’t want to have them on your own, choose a dip, like hummus, to make them even more delicious.
Next time you are looking for something to snack on, it is best to avoid popcorn and choose some of these tooth-healthy alternatives. Your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Central Dental Associates has been dedicated to providing patients with state-of-the art dental care in the Norwood area for over 50 years! The practice is comprised of a team of five experienced dental professionals with many years under their belts. For more ways to keep your smile healthy or to schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (781) 769-3566.