Midnight snacks that are safe(-er) for teeth?
November 30, 2013 10:02 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for midnight snacks that are less likely to cause tooth problems/tooth decay/etc. Assume that I'm grabbing this food in the middle of the night and then going back to bed without brushing my teeth.

I'm looking for foods that are:
  • filling
  • relatively safe for teeth
  • tasty
  • ideally, soporific
I want to avoid foods that can cause cavities, weaken enamel, or that in some other way would necessitate brushing in order for my teeth to be safe.
posted by Deathalicious to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: weaken enamel

That would be caused by acid. So avoid acidic foods.


Those would be caused by bacteria consuming sugar. So avoid foods that have a lot of simple carbs.


These are just cavities, but when they are in a place that's hard to reach, can go on for awhile before being discovered, and so can cause decay. Avoid higher sugar (simple carbs) foods that can get stuck between teeth and allow bacteria to work on them. Obviously, things like toffees are particularly to be discouraged.

Bacteria that destroy teeth do that through releasing acids that eat away at the enamel and the subsequently exposed dentin, they build a film on the tooth which is basically a colony of bacteria, which extend under the gum line and solidify into calculus. The inflammation this causes is another factor that allows the process of periodontal disease to start.

A key factor here is time. The longer the bacteria have to work on the teeth, the longer the teeth are exposed to acids, the worse it gets.

Most food will not be good to leave on the teeth for many hours. However, some foods have been found to be relatively better than others. For example, many cheeses actually might inhibit the bacteria that cause cavities, same thing with... peanut butter! Here is a handy list of foods and agents that have that effect:

7 Foods to Fight Cavities

Even so, however, cavities are not your only problem as I indicated above, so keep that in mind. With some of these, you might also expect to sustain some tooth staining when exposed for awhile, without being removed (such as black tea).

Some lean turkey breast might be somewhat soporific, but as always there are tradeoffs.

One additional thing to keep in mind regarding the whole idea of midnight snacks:

Out of Sync
Why eating at the wrong times is tied to such profound and negative effects on our bodies
posted by VikingSword at 10:34 PM on November 30, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Cheese sticks, celery
posted by Under the Sea at 5:58 AM on December 1, 2013

Best answer: Seconding cheese and nuts. I recall reading somewhere that cheese is an ideal late-night snack because the bacteria in cheese is actually beneficial for preventing tooth decay, though that may have just been woowoo as I don't recall the source now.
posted by jferg at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2013

Best answer: Heard that about cheese as well.

Also heard that snacks containing Xylitol have apparently more dental health benefits compared to other (sweet) snacks.

Would it be possible to use mouthwash on your way back to bed?
posted by travelwithcats at 6:45 AM on December 1, 2013

Best answer: Just came in to say I've been told by my dentist that cheese is one of the least decay-causing snacks.
posted by belau at 7:39 AM on December 1, 2013

« Older How do I exercise in winter?   |   Requesting book recommendations for a one-year-old Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.