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The holidays are here, and with them comes a plethora of opportunities for sweet, goodies, alcoholic drinks, and other acidic beverages. All of these things spell bad news for your teeth. The best way to combat the effects of these foods and drinks is two fold: first, eat smart; second, be vigilant in your oral hygiene routines.

Eating Smart

Eating smart doesn’t mean you can never have treats–but it does mean you should be aware of how certain treats affect your teeth.

Sugar is notoriously bad for your smile. Do you know why? There are bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria, when not cleaned, form a sticky film called plaque. Plaque is made of living bacteria, which feed on sugars. They convert those sugars into acids, which eat away at your tooth enamel. This technically means that it isn’t actually the sugar rotting your teeth, it’s actually the acids the bacteria are producing. Unfortunately, the practical application of this is that you still need to limit your sugar. Limit your acids, as well–including soft drinks, fruit juices, wine and alcohol, and sticky acidic candies.

Hygiene

The acids in food and drink make your enamel more sensitive to abrasion. Brushing teeth is inherently abrasive, and therefore should be avoided right after eating (unless you are otherwise instructed by your dentist). Try chewing a piece of sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating, to stimulate saliva flow and clean teeth. Then brush thoroughly that day.

For more information, call Toms River Smiles Dental in Toms River, New Jersey, at 732-244-1163. Dr. Harihar Kumar and our team are happy to help!