6 Tips for Good Oral Hygiene When Your Health Condition Requires Snacking

Oral hygiene with a health condition

For many Americans, the battle of the bulge is real, and calorie restriction, diets, frequent exercise, and more are parts of the daily routine. But for some people, specific ailments can require frequent snacking, six small meals a day, or other diet modifications. But all that food can be bad for your teeth and gums, right? Not necessarily. We have put together some tips for maintaining oral hygiene with a health condition that requires snacking.

Some health conditions require frequent snacking.

Whether you are fortunate enough to be in good health or you have a health condition to manage, practicing good oral hygiene is paramount for your overall health. So, brushing your teeth twice a day—at least 30 minutes after meals—flossing after brushing, drinking water after a meal, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash should always be part of your daily oral hygiene routine. But if you have a medical condition that requires you to eat more than two or three times a day, some additional pointers are best for you to follow so you can keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

Various medical conditions may require you to eat more frequently or to snack periodically throughout the day.

  • Diabetes 1 and 2
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Eating disorder recovery 
  • Dysautonomia (a group of medical conditions caused by problems with the autonomic nervous system (ANS)

With any of the above conditions, frequent healthy snacking is essential to maintain your health. But, how you snack can make all the difference in helping you manage your overall health without putting your oral health at risk. Following your doctor’s recommendations to manage your health condition is always critical. And know that your dental team will partner with your medical provider to ensure you receive the best comprehensive care overall.

How to Snack the “Healthy” Way  

Now that you understand some of the conditions which may require you to snack more often, let’s discuss how you can snack the healthy way. We’ve listed ways you can manage your requirements for frequent snacking with foods that are good for your oral health. Following these tips can aid in cavity prevention, helping you to avoid frequent cavities as well.

  1. Limit your intake of processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods are well known to cause people to eat more than the recommended amounts of sugar, salt, and fat. As a result, you might need to realize how much of those ingredients you are consuming. Stick to fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, yogurts, and other non-processed foods.
  2. Eat sugar in moderation. Excess sugar can contribute to health issues such as tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes. Though processed (refined) sugar can provide a quick burst of energy, it contains no helpful vitamins or minerals.
  3. Drink plenty of water. As a rule of thumb, you should strive to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh daily. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 ounces of water each day. Water not only helps with your metabolism and keeps everything inside your body running effectively, but it also helps to rinse food particles from your teeth.
  4. Get your daily fruits and vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests consuming about 1 ½ to two cups of fruit per day and two to three cups of vegetables per day. Eating fruits and veggies can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower your blood pressure, prevent certain types of cancer, lessen the risk of eye and digestive problems, and more. Not only that but crunchy fruits and vegetables help clean the inside of your mouth.
  5. Don’t skip out on the protein. Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or eat meat and fish, protein is a necessary part of your daily diet. Protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones and is also a critical component of growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women. At the very least, you should know that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. To determine what your daily protein intake should be, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. For instance, the daily protein intake for someone who weighs 150 pounds should be 54 grams. Finally, eat a couple of pieces of cheese at the end of your meal. Cheese is not only high in protein, but it helps balance the pH levels in your mouth too.
  6. Vary what you eat. We recommend that you eat a wide array of tooth-friendly foods each day. While predictable, eating the same thing every day can eventually get boring. Plus, your body can benefit from the variety. So, try different foods to ensure you get enough of each food group for your recommended daily intake.

How to Maintain Your Oral Hygiene with a Health Condition

If you have a health condition and need to snack a bit more throughout the day to maintain your health, we cannot reiterate enough the importance of managing your oral hygiene. Though we reminded you earlier in this article about brushing, flossing, drinking water, and more, we want to take a moment to break it down a bit further. After all, your dentist in Maryville, MO cares about your comprehensive oral care and wants you to be able to manage your medical conditions while also prioritizing your oral hygiene.

Whether you have soft teeth or just want to protect your teeth and gums due to frequent meals and snacking, here is what you should know.

  • Keep floss or flossers handy and use them after meals to pick out pieces of food that get stuck between your teeth.
  • Run your tongue over your teeth throughout the day to keep your teeth clean.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but especially after eating to rinse food particles away.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush your teeth, and then be sure to brush for two minutes at a time using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Though you should brush twice a day, be sure you are not over brushing—be gentle.
  • Use concentrated fluoride toothpaste when brushing—after brushing, spit out the toothpaste, but avoid the need to rinse your mouth immediately after brushing.
  • Chew sugar-free gum between meals or chew Xylitol-sweetened gum, which can help prevent dental cavities.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and oral evaluation—be sure to update your dentist on your medical conditions.

Compass Dental Group is your partner to protect your oral hygiene when you have a medical condition.

At Compass Dental Group, we’re here to help you take the best care of your teeth and gums as you manage your medical condition. And a key to your success is by ensuring you make regular visits to us (every six months) for preventive dentistry. So, if it is time for your next dental cleaning, now is the time to request an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.