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Eating Sweets Without the Cavities

lady eating donuts

If you have a sweet tooth, it may feel impossible to resist your sugar cravings at times. Sugar isn’t just bad for your waistline—it also feeds the bacteria in your mouth. As these bacteria multiply, they produce acids and plaque that eat away at tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities.

While the best way to avoid tooth decay is to tame your sweet tooth, certain adjustments may allow you to eat candy without getting cavities. Here are the tricks to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of sugar.

Limit Your Snacking

Every time you eat, the pH level in your mouth drops. This acidic environment only worsens if sugar is present. Your mouth can defend against acid, but it’s only able to handle four to five attacks per day. Therefore, you should avoid snacking all day long so your saliva has time to restore a natural pH balance between meals.

Pick the Right Sweets

Some sugary foods are worse than others. For instance, gummy candy sticks to your teeth when you chew, and hard candy lingers in your mouth while you suck on it. In contrast, dark chocolate can satisfy your cravings while delivering polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins to stop bacteria from binding to your teeth. Just remember to indulge in moderation.

Eat Sweets with Other Food

It’s best to eat sugar with a meal when saliva production is highest. For instance, if you’re going to indulge in juice, sweet tea, or sports drinks, do so with food. That way, fewer acids will linger on your teeth between meals. It’s also wise to eat cheese or milk at the end of a meal, which helps restore your mouth’s natural pH balance faster.

Swish After Snacking

Rinse your mouth with plain water after eating sweets or drinking sugary beverages to remove loose particles and counteract acids.

Brush Your Teeth 30 Minutes After Eating

You may assume you should brush as soon as possible after eating, but scrubbing weakened tooth enamel could cause more harm than good. That’s why you should wait 30 to 60 minutes. By then, your teeth will have remineralized and are ready for a good scrub.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum promotes saliva production and helps remove food particles from your mouth. If you can find sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, even better. This non-nutritive sweetener doesn’t feed oral bacteria, thus reducing the risk of cavities.

Get Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly

Regular dental checkups are important for healthy teeth and gums, especially if you enjoy eating sweets. During your appointment at West County Dental, our registered dental hygienists will clean your teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Only professional dental tools can remove what brushing and flossing leave behind. If we discover any tooth decay at your appointment, we can fill your cavity to preserve your teeth and stop the damage from spreading.

Please call West County Dental in St. Louis, MO, at (314) 488-2921 or contact us online to reserve your next dental appointment.