Trick or Treat: Sugar and Your Smile

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Trick-or-treating time is here, and with it comes copious amounts of sweet treats. These can bring a smile to anyone’s face! But do you know how to take care of that smile when eating all those sugary goodies?

First, remember to eat all sweets only in moderation. This will benefit your oral health, and your overall health.

It is important to understand how sugar affects your smile. There are bacteria that are constantly present in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars, then convert that sugar into dangerous acids that erode your tooth enamel. The longer the sugar stays in your mouth, the more acid the bacteria produce, and the more rapidly your teeth erode. Naturally or artificially acidic foods erode your tooth enamel directly.

Unfortunately, after eating or drinking–especially acidic foods–your tooth enamel is more sensitive to abrasion. Brushing your teeth is inherently abrasive. This combination means that it is a bad idea to brush your teeth right after eating.

A good way to neutralize the acids present after eating is to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes. This stimulates saliva flow in the mouth, and saliva is the body’s first defense against cavities. Saliva cleans food particles away, and neutralizes acids in the mouth. This prepares your teeth for brushing.  

After eating sticky, starchy, or sugary foods, be sure to (1) chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes, and (2) brush your teeth extra-thoroughly that day. Floss once daily, removing plaque from between teeth. This is vital to mouth health, as food and plaque can easily get caught between teeth and cause cavities in hard-to-reach places.

For more information, call Rock Canyon Dental in Provo, Utah, at 801-373-6362.  Dr. Joseph Kayne and our team look forward to making your smile shine this holiday season!