It’s fairly common knowledge that sugary foods cause cavities. While that’s an overly simplistic explanation, one of our top pieces of advice to improve oral health is to limit sugar in your diet.

However, it’s not always possible to avoid sugar & sweets, especially during holidays or around birthdays or other family gatherings. Instead, here are some ways to keep your teeth healthy while also indulging every so often.

Limit Your Sugar Intake

We mentioned above that it’s important to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet, but when you do consume sugar, it’s also a good idea to limit the length of exposure to sugar. For instance, avoid foods like lollipops or hard candy that sit in your mouth & dissolve into a constant stream of sugar on your teeth. Chewy or gooey treats that stick to your teeth should also be avoided.

This advice also applies to sugary drinks, like a mixed drink or soda that you nurse for an evening.

Eat Dessert With Dinner

Putting sweets on your dinner plate can reduce the risk of cavities in a couple ways. First, eating dinner stimulates saliva, which is a natural antibacterial wash for your mouth. Eating sweets with another meal, rather than as a snack or otherwise removed from a meal, allows the extra saliva to wash away particles that might otherwise get stuck in your teeth.

Second, combining dinner & dessert may reduce the amount of sweets you eat because they’re sharing space in your stomach with the meal. Just remember to stop eating when you feel full, even if it means leaving some food on your plate.

Post-Sugar Activities

We’ve talked about how to eat sugary foods, but now let’s talk about what to do after eating them to boost your oral health despite the sugar. Drinking water after you finish your sweets helps to wash away particles that like to hang around in your mouth.

It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth to more thoroughly get rid of the sugar by-products; however, we recommend waiting 30–60 minutes. Brushing too soon can actually damage your enamel by rubbing the acids produced by the sugar into your teeth. Waiting an hour allows your mouth, or saliva, to dilute the acids, reducing the risk of damage.

Regular Cleanings

Of course, one of the best ways to improve your oral health is to go to your six-month cleanings. Your hygienist will be able to tell you if your efforts have been successful, or they can give you additional advice. We love talking to our patients about how they can keep their mouth healthy at home, so please don’t hesitate to ask us questions!

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