Let’s face it, most people enjoy sugary snacks. But they aren’t so enjoyable for your teeth. In honor of National Smile Power Day on June 15, here are some easy ways to protect your employees’ smiles and their overall health.
Clear away the bad
Take a closer look at what’s in your break room. Chances are there are too many sugary and starchy snacks. Sugars and starches mix with bacteria in the mouth to create acid that can lead to tooth decay. Watch out for food that at first glance may seem healthy but contain lots of starch or sugar, such as pretzels, crackers, trail mix and granola bars.
Gooey, sticky and chewy sweets can be especially harmful because they spend more time on the teeth. So do starchy foods, which can get stuck between teeth. What’s more, both of these categories of snacks are usually high in calories.
Plus, skip soft drinks that contain sugar or acids (including most sodas). They can wear away tooth enamel. Check the nutrition facts on the label to see if the beverage contains sugar and scan the ingredients list for any acids.
Bring in the good
Limiting snacks that are bad for employees’ teeth doesn’t mean doing away with snacks altogether. It’s simply a matter of finding substitutes that are good for their teeth and still tasty.
Yogurt is full of good bacteria that slows the bad bacteria that causes gum disease. Plus, the calcium helps keep teeth strong. Just make sure to choose low-sugar versions. And, of course, many fruits and vegetables are good snack choices. Apples and carrots stand out because their crunchiness helps stimulate saliva flow to rinse your mouth. Almonds also provide a cleansing crunch and are packed with protein and calcium. These nutrients are great for teeth and help strengthen tooth enamel.
Make sure to have plenty of water around. Encourage employees to drink water after snacking to rinse their mouths and free food particles.
Celebrate good health
Birthday parties and other office celebrations are often a time to indulge in cakes, doughnuts, cookies and other foods that are hard on your teeth. Try substituting sweets with a tempting fruit platter. It can look just as good and taste almost as sweet. Or go with plain dark chocolate that has a high percentage of cocoa and a low percentage of sugar. It’s full of antioxidants and nutrients.
You can also use your celebration as an occasion to get moving. Organize a group activity or service-oriented project. Or take the money spent on celebrations and donate it to a charity of your or your employee’s choice.
Make the office coffee a legitimate perk
Make sure your office’s special blend is so good that no one will be tempted to add sugar to it.