Sometimes, the perfect way to end a long day is by curling up to watch your favorite movie and enjoying a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. In fact, Americans eat approximately 15 billion quarts of it every single year. Even though this delicious, crunchy snack may be much better for your health than starchy potato chips or sugary cookies, popcorn can actually harm your oral health in a number of different ways. Read on to learn more about how popcorn affects your teeth as well as some nutritious alternatives.
How Does Popcorn Hurt Your Smile?
Eating popcorn has several negative consequences. Here are some of the most common dangers of the treat:
- Lactic Acid: Popcorn is one of the numerous foods that create lactic acid in your mouth. As you probably already know, acid and teeth are not friends. The lactic acid strips the protective enamel from your teeth and leaves them more vulnerable to tooth decay, sensitivity, and other dental issues.
- Popcorn Hulls: You have probably been frustrated by this issue before. You’re munching through a bucket of popcorn and can feel a popcorn hull get lodged between your teeth and sometimes under your gum. This can be difficult to remove and even painful. If you can’t get the hull out from beneath your gum, it could seriously irritate the gum tissue and even cause an abscess.
- Unpopped Kernels: This is another common problem that you may have already come across. Not all of the popcorn seeds end up popping, so you are left with hard kernels mixed in. If you aren’t careful, you could crunch down on one. Since these small objects are so hard, you could easily break or crack your tooth in the process.
3 Tooth-Friendly Popcorn Alternatives
Popcorn may not be the best option for your teeth, but that doesn’t mean that you need to watch all your movies without a snack. Here are some tooth-friendly foods that you can try instead:
- Salted Nuts: Instead of popcorn, reach for a bowl of assorted nuts instead. They are rich in protein and can help to build stronger teeth. They also promote saliva production which will help to wash away any bacteria or food debris that is harmful for your smile.
- Cheese: Cheese is high in calcium which promotes strong teeth. It also contains a protein called casein which strengthens tooth enamel and prevents cavities.
- Veggies and Dip: High fiber fruits and vegetables, like carrots, celery, and apples, are great for your teeth. If you don’t want to eat them by themselves, combining them with your favorite dip or hummus can make them even more delicious.
Next time you are looking for a snack to go along with a movie, consider some of these tooth-friendly options. Your smile will thank you!
About the Practice
At LIC Dental Associates, Dr. Ishwinder Saran is proud to lead a team of six other experienced dental professionals all under one roof. With the combined skills of general and cosmetic dentists, a periodontist and implantologist, endodontist, pediatric dentist, and dental anesthesiologist, patients can get pretty much anything they need conveniently in one place. For more information or to schedule an appointment at their office in Long Island City, visit their website or call (718) 530-6539.