Before your baby starts munching on a snack, ask yourself what’s in the food you’ve chosen. Is it loaded with sugar? If it is, think again. Another choice would be better for his/her teeth. And keep in mind that certain kinds of sweets can do more damage than others. Gooey or chewy sweets spend more time sticking to the surface of his/her teeth. Because sticky snacks stay in their mouth longer than foods that you quickly chew and swallow, they give teeth a longer sugar bath. You should also think about when and how often to eat snacks. Do they nibble on sugary snacks many times throughout the day, or do they usually just have dessert after dinner? Damaging acids form in their mouth every time they eat a sugary snack. The acids continue to affect their teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized and can’t do any more harm. So, the more times they eat sugary snacks during the day, the more often they feed bacteria the fuel they need to cause tooth decay. If they eat sweets, it’s best to eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. Whenever they eat sweets, in any meal or snack, they should brush their teeth well with a fluoride toothpaste afterward. When you’re deciding about snacks, think about: -The number of times a day they eat sugary snacks -How long the sugary food stays in the mouth -The texture of the sugary food (chewy? sticky?) If they snack after school, before bedtime, or other times during the day, they should pick something without a lot of sugar or fat. There are lots of tasty, filling snacks that are less harmful to their teeth — and the rest of their body — than foods loaded with sugars and low in nutritional value. Snack smart!