Remember how your parents always made you eat your vegetables first before you could eat your dessert? That may not have been the best thing for your teeth.
Here’s a story to illustrate this point:
Let’s say you go out to the Olive Garden for some great Italian food. After dinner, you order some Black Tie Chocolate Mousse Cake. As you eat the cake, the crust gets packed down into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth and some might even get stuck in between your teeth. Depending on how much saliva you have — and you might not have very much — it could take over half an hour to wash away this sugary treat from your mouth! That means that your teeth could be exposed to harmful substances and their byproducts for over an hour.
Click here to see a graph of what happens to your teeth every time you eat.
Now, suppose you had the cake first, and then ate a salad. The chewing action of the lettuce leaves would easily be able to wash away the cake, and your mouth would be free from the high concentration of sugar much more quickly. This is one reason that dental experts recommend eating sugar with meals. It’s also why I wrote about how it’s better to drink soda pop when you eat a meal.
Do You Need to Eat Dessert First for Healthy Teeth?
No, you don’t need to eat dessert before your regular meal and there are reasons not to, such as the possibility of spoiling your dinner. If you don’t want to eat dessert first, you might try drinking some water or anything non-sugary to get that sugar off of your teeth.
I realize that one of the main reasons people choose to have dessert after their dinner is to avoid filling up on empty calories or overeating something that should be eaten in small quantities. These are both excellent reasons to wait on dessert, or even skip it altogether. After all, there are health risks associated with being overweight and eating the wrong types of foods as well. So, if you prefer to eat your dessert after dinner, you could always select a healthier dessert that won’t cause sugar to hang around in your mouth for a long time, such as fresh fruit. You could also eat something that would aid in mechanically removing the dessert from your teeth, such as cheese or one of these foods.
You don’t necessarily need to eat dessert first. My point in writing this was to let you know that what matters for your teeth is the order in which you eat your food. If you eat sugar, it’s a good idea to wash it away with some other food rather than letting it sit on your teeth.
As I was writing this, my wife came up to the computer and said “Another one on food!?”
Looking back through the Food & Drink category, I realize that I probably have written a lot about how food affects your teeth. What can I say… I like food. In order to keep this blog more exciting, I’ll be moving on to other dental topics. If you have any ideas for future articles, feel free to let me know.
Thanks for reading!