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The holidays are here, and with them come a plethora of desserts, candy, and other sweets.  You probably know that a lot of sugar is bad for your teeth. But do you know why?

Let’s talk about what sugar does to your teeth. The effect is indirect, but makes a big difference in your oral health if left unchecked.

Bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria, when not cleaned off, form a sticky film called plaque. This plaque is unsightly and damages your teeth and gums. Plaque is made of living bacteria, which require food. They eat sugar. They produce an acidic byproduct from that sugar; this byproduct eats away at your tooth enamel. The plaque also sticks to your teeth and gums, which constantly exposes your teeth to the corrosive force of the acid the bacteria are producing.

This essentially means that it isn’t actually the sugar rotting your teeth–it’s acid that’s rotting your teeth. The practical application of this, however, is that you still need to limit your sugar. In fact, it also means that you need to limit your acid intake. Even naturally acidic foods, such as orange juice, need to be accompanied by a large glass of water to help rinse the acid away from your teeth quickly. Things like sticky, acidic, sugary candies (sour gummies, for example) are extremely bad for your teeth.

If you do choose to eat these foods, drink a tall glass of water, then try chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes to increase saliva flow. This cleans teeth and neutralize acids in your mouth. Then brush your teeth.

For more information, call Robert Rebert, Jr., DDS in Metairie, Louisiana, at 504-885-7510.  Dr. Robert Rebert and our team are happy to help!