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With the holidays close at hand, it is common to have a number of opportunities for sweet treats and acidic drinks (such as punch, fruit juice or cider, and alcohol). While these goodies can be fun on occasion, they can also be damaging to your teeth and gums.

Sugar is actually really dangerous to your smile, though the effects are in fact indirect. When you don’t clean your teeth consistently, a sticky substance called plaque forms a filmy layer on your teeth. Plaque is made of living bacteria that feed on sugar. They produce an acidic byproduct that eats away at your tooth enamel. This technically means that the sugar itself isn’t rotting your teeth–it’s the acids the bacteria produce that is doing the damage. Unfortunately,this still means that you need to limit your sugar. In fact, you need to limit your acidic food intake, as well–including soft drinks, fruit juices, wine, other alcohol, and sticky acidic candies.

If and when you do eat treats, make sure to not snack on them throughout the day–eat a treat or two, then be done for a while. This allows you to clean your teeth in between treats, therefore reducing your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral emergencies. Try chewing a piece of sugarless gum for 20 minutes to promote saliva flow to clean teeth, until you can brush.

For more information, call Lifetime Dentistry in Muscatine, Iowa, at 563-263-9082. Dr. Holly Krystek and our team are happy to help keep your holiday happy and healthy!