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Holiday sweets, beware


The fall and winter holidays are known for sweet treats and savory goodies, but that doesn't mean that you have to end up at the dentist with cavities in January. How do sweet foods and drinks cause cavities?

When you eat sugary foods or drinks, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and create acids as a by-product. These acids then wear down the tooth enamel, making it weaker and more susceptible to tooth decay as well as a host of other problems, including gingivitis. Snacking on sweets throughout the day or during an extended period of time (such as at a holiday party) is especially harmful, since damaging acids form in the mouth every time you eat a sugary snack and continue to affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards.  

Simple Steps For Holiday Oral Care The best way to avoid cavities while still enjoying your holiday indulgences is to practice good oral hygiene. Here are some tips to help:

  • Eating sugary or carbohydrate rich foods as part of a balanced meal is better than eating them alone. The body produces more saliva to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth

  • Foods that take a long time to chew can damage teeth. That's because sticky foods, including nutritious choices like raisins, dates and dried fruit, hold acid against teeth longer than do other foods. Try to limit your consumption of these foods.

  • If you're unable to brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water or chewing sugar-free gum will help to wash away food particles, produce more saliva and neutralize acids in your mouth

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