How to Protect Your Teeth From Sugar

The holiday season is often one of sugary overindulgence: think hot chocolate, marshmallows, candy canes, and gingerbread cookies. Unfortunately for those with a sweet-tooth, sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth happily feeds off sugar and, as a result, produces harmful acid that attacks your teeth and breaks down the enamel coating that protects them. Sugar can start affecting your teeth within minutes of eating it, and people who eat sugar often and snack on sugary foods between meals are most at risk.

 

To help you protect your teeth this festive season, we’ve gathered together our top tips for preventing tooth decay through sugar consumption:

 

Brush thoroughly

Make sure you are brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth enamel, stopping the decay process and preventing tooth decay. Make sure you also floss every time you brush: this will help eliminate any food or plaque building up between the teeth.

 

Stop snacking

Limit eating sugary foods to meal times and avoid snacking in between meals if you can. Each acid attack on your teeth last 20 minutes, so the more often you eat a sugary food item, the more often your teeth are exposed to the harmful acid that can erode them.

 

Watch out for sticky foods

The worst kind of sugary foods are the sticky kind, as these will stay in your mouth longer. Sticky foods can include dried fruit, trail mix, candy and caramel. After eating these types of foods, rinse your mouth with water to wash away as much of the sugary residue as you can. If you want to brush your teeth after eating sugary foods, wait an hour so your tooth enamel has time to recover and reharden.

 

Say no to sugary drinks

Beverages that have been sweetened with sugar, such as soda, juice, or energy drinks, are particularly harmful to your teeth. Drink sugary beverages in moderation, or avoid them altogether. If you do consume one, use a straw so your teeth are less exposed to the sugar and acid in the drink.

 

There are some great options out there for sugar-free holiday treats: take a look at this article for some ideas. If you are worried about the effect your eating habits have had on your teeth, then give us a call at McAllister Dentistry today and make an appointment for a check up. We look forward to hearing from you!

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