Sometimes the perfect night ends in curling up to watch your favorite movie with a large bucket of popcorn. Americans eat approximately 15 billion quarts of it every year. Even though this delicious, crunchy snack may be much better for your body than starchy potato chips or sugary cookies, popcorn is actually terrible for your smile for a number of reasons. Continue reading to learn more from your dentist about why you should be avoiding popcorn and which treats you should be eating instead.
How Is Popcorn Harmful for Your Smile?
Eating popcorn has several negative consequences that are best avoided. Here are some of the most common dangers.
- Lactic Acid: Popcorn is one of the many foods that create lactic acid in your mouth. As you probably already know, acid and teeth are not a good mix. This lactic acid then strips the protective enamel from your teeth and leaves them more vulnerable to tooth decay, sensitivity, and other 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 cause an abscess.
- Unpopped Kernels: This is another common issue 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.
What Are Some Tooth-Healthy Alternatives to Popcorn?
Even though popcorn may not be the greatest option for your teeth, that doesn’t mean that you need to try to get through movie night without a snack in your hands. Here are some foods you can try instead that are unlikely to have negative effects on your teeth:
- Salted Nuts: Instead of popcorn, reach for some salted 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 on their own, combining them with your favorite dip or hummus can make them even more delicious.
Next time you are looking for something to snack on, consider some of these tooth-healthy alternatives. You will have a nutritious bite to eat and your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. David W. Cleveland is a general dentist serving patient at Darby Creek Dental in Marysville, OH. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University and his overall career in oral healthcare covers nearly two full decades. Dr. Cleveland is committed to expanding his knowledge in the field through continuing education. For more information on caring for your smile or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (937) 644-8822.