Snacks that can be bad for your teeth

Local dentist talks dos and don'ts

By Jennifer Waugh - The Morning Show anchor, I-Team reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The label may suggest they are healthy for your child's body, but when it comes to your kids' teeth, a local dentist says certain snacks should be a no-no.

Chewy granola bars, power bars, raisins -- they top the list of snacks Dr. Richard Mullens said you should avoid packing in your child's lunch.

"The residual on the teeth can cause tooth decay," Mullens said.

He said Pop-Tarts are another example of a food that sticks to the enamel of the teeth. That stickiness causes cavities. Sodas and also sports drinks have a lot of sugar, which is why Mullens suggests avoiding them all together as well.

Snacks that are not bad for your teeth:

"Stick to the ones your mother always tells you about, cheese, raw fruits and veggies, plain yogurt and nuts," Mullens said.

Preventing tooth decay:

Mullens said there is an ingredient that is a great tooth decay preventative.  It's called Xylitol.

"Look for it in gums and toothpaste," Mullens said. "I encourage my patients to chew gum with Xylitol."


Mullens said everyone should brush for two minutes, at least twice a day.  While he always urges brushing in the morning and at night, if you had to pick the most important time to brush, it's at night.

"Our mouth's natural tooth decay fighter, saliva, is not working as much at night," Mullens said.

Tooth damage:

If your tooth is ever knocked out, Mullens said the best thing to do if you can't hold the tooth in its place, is to hold it on the inside of your cheek and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. If your child is too young to do this, you can put the tooth in a glass of milk. Most importantly, you need to get to your dentist as quickly as possible to increase the chances of saving the tooth.

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