With the holiday season approaching, people often add more sweets to their diets. When eating sugary foods, like candy, most people will eat several pieces continuously throughout the day, not knowing that this can actually hurt their teeth.
When a person eats, the germs in the mouth produce an acid that can break down the enamel on teeth. Saliva neutralizes the acid to keep teeth from decay, but it takes about 20 minutes for it to work. Tooth decay happens when plaque, in combination with candy or other carbohydrates, are left on or between the teeth. The acids break down the outer layer called enamel and then the dentin, the layer underneath. This can cause pain in teeth, the loss of teeth and sometimes even infections in the mouth. The more frequently a person eats and snacks, the longer it takes the acids to neutralize in the mouth.
The way to avoid tooth decay and still enjoy holiday sweets is by brushing and flossing daily, rinsing the mouth with water after eating snacks, and limiting the number of times treats are eaten. Brushing and flossing daily removes plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities. This minimizes the chances of developing tooth decay. Rinsing with water helps saliva neutralize acids a little quicker, and limiting snacking helps prevent cavities. Remember, the more frequently you eat, the more often acid and sugary candies will break down on the teeth.
These steps are important in helping keep oral health up to par for the upcoming fall season and all the seasons to follow. The better people are at taking care of their teeth now, the less they and their families will spend coming in for dental work.