The less time food spends on your teeth, the better.

Frequently grazing throughout the day, especially on sugars and carbs, causes acid attacks that can last up to 20 minutes. Cutting back on snack time is not only good for your waistline—it’s also good for your mouth, giving it time to rest and recover so that it can do its best work.

Here are a few tips on smart snacking:

Eat Balanced Meals
Try to get protein, grains, vegetables, and fruit at each of your main meals. That’ll keep you satisfied longer, so you’re less likely to need that mid-morning, mid-day, early evening, two minutes after a conference call…snack.

Choose Wisely
Some snacks are easier on the mouth than others, so choose wisely:

  • If you’re craving something salty, try cheese, nuts, chicken nuggets, or beef jerky.
  • If it’s protein you want, try cheese, chicken, nuts, meat, milk, or yogurt.
  • If you need a little crunch, try firm fruits like apples, pears, or veggies.
  • If it’s sugar you crave, you’re not alone—cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth loves sweets too. Try to steer clear, but if you can’t quite pass up those Krispy Kremes, do your best to brush your teeth soon after or, if brushing is not possible, swish your mouth with water.

Focus on Your Food
A main reason we over-do snacking is our love of multi-tasking. We snack while we email, work, and pretend to work, leading us to eat more than necessary for longer periods of time.

Instead, when you really need a snack, focus on eating that snack all at one time. If you finish and have leftovers, tuck those extras away. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that bowl of almonds next to your hand won’t make it out alive.

Smart Snacking Infographic