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You don’t want your child gobbling down unhealthy snacks all day, so like many parents you probably opt for some healthier choices for their lunchboxes. Maybe you swap candy out for a box of raisins – but are those any better for your child’s dental health than a candy bar?

No matter your age, sugar is a serious oral health concern. Around 90 percent of us will get a cavity at some point in their lives, and like most oral health problems they’re preventable! As a family dental practice, our Oregon City office wants to ensure our patients have healthy teeth for life, and that means knowing all the surprising sources of sugar.

Why Sugar Is A Danger For Your Teeth

Before we start listing off some little-known sugar sources we want to cover the reasons that sugar is so bad for your teeth. It’s not that sugar itself does something harmful, rather it’s the result of its interaction with oral bacteria.

Your mouth is filled with bacteria, and when it consumes sugar it metabolizes it into acids. Those acids erode the enamel of your teeth, eventually allowing bacteria to get further and further into a tooth, creating cavities.

We all know certain things are bad for us: soda, candy, cake, cookies – but what about things we’d never even assume? There are risks everywhere!

Dried Fruit

It might sound healthy to give your child that box of raisins or other dried fruit as a snack, but it’s not. While fresh and dry fruit both contain sugar, fresh fruit has a lot of fiber in it to help control the damage sugar can do. Once you dry that fruit out, however, it’s nothing but sugar.

Raisins, in fact, are particularly dangerous – a small box of them contains almost as much sugar as a can of Coke! If you or your child is snacking on dry fruit then you might be dooming your smile and not even realizing it.

Starchy Foods

Bread, pretzels, crackers, and other processed flour foods can make us fat because of all those carbs, but can they damage teeth too? They sure can!

Starchy foods contain carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar in our mouths. They might not be sweet but that’s not stopping them from producing the same exact acids that candy and other sugary treats do. If you think that your salty snacks are a way of avoiding tooth decay, then think again!

Granola Bars

These are an easy treat to grab, both for adults and children. You probably see them advertised as a healthy snack all over the place, and in many ways they are: they’re packed with good stuff. Unfortunately they’re also packed full of sugar.

Sure, they contain some dried fruit, but that’s not the main source of sugar in granola bars – it’s mostly added. Additional sugar is one of the most dangerous parts of our diets because it’s giving us far more sugar than we need, which isn’t only bad for our teeth, but our waistlines as well.


Tossing a yogurt into your child’s lunchbox is easy – it’s a sealed package, it’s got plenty of calcium, and there’s fruit in there too. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to escape the sugar trap in the modern world, and this is one more area that it stacks up.

The average flavored yogurt container has six to seven teaspoons of sugar added to it. That’s a lot of unnecessary sugar that you or your child could be eating, exposing their teeth to all sorts of harm. Yogurt might be good for you, but be sure to check the label before you buy a sugar-filled tooth destroyer.

How To Keep That Smile Healthy

If you want to ensure you and your child keep their teeth in good shape for life there’s a few things you can do to make sure they stay that way.

  • Cut out excess sugar. Whenever possible opt for an unsweetened or low-sugar option. If you cut just a little bit of sugar from your diet you’ll be amazed at how sweet everything tastes later on.
  • Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, and never brush after eating something that contains sugar. Plaque acid softens your enamel, making it much easier for a brush to do extra damage.
  • Floss every night – no exceptions. The spaces between your teeth are super vulnerable to decay and gum disease, so be sure to get bacteria out of there every single day.
  • Make sure your whole family is getting dental cleanings and exams on a regular six month basis. If we see you regularly we’ll be able to identify problems and treat them before they become serious!

Don’t Wait For Good Oral Health To Happen – Start Today

We’re ready to see you and your whole family at Pioneer Dental Group, so don’t hesitate to call us for an appointment today! You can reach our Oregon City office at 503-388-4691 or you can request an appointment online. We hope to see you soon!