If you are like most people with a sweet tooth, when the holiday season rolls around each year you find yourself in a challenging position. Although almost everyone indulges in sweets from time to time, too many snacks of this type can eventually cause unwanted results for your gums and teeth. You have likely heard at least one Los Angeles dentist mention that cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss can come from overindulging in sugary snacks. The following are some essential holiday tips for healthy teeth:
The teeth cleaning Los Angeles residents schedule is usually completed every six months. However, if you continuously snack on sugar filled treats, you may need to visit a Century City dentist more than once a year for an evaluation. This is because sugar can have unintended effects on your teeth of which you may be entirely unaware.
You have likely heard your Los Angeles dentist say that plaque–a sticky film of bacteria– continuously forms on your gums and teeth. However, what you may not know is that when starch and sugar come in contact with this bacteria, it creates an acidic compound that relentlessly attacks your teeth for up to 30 minutes at a time. If this constantly occurs, as is usually the case with people who have a sweet tooth, the enamel of the tooth eventually breaks down, which ultimately leads to tooth decay.
Almost every Los Angeles dentist would agree that damage from sweets is caused not only by the amount of sugar in what you eat, but also the consistency of the snacks you choose. For example, a chocolate bar that quickly gets washed away by saliva is not as damaging as holiday treats that stick to your teeth, such as gummy candy, fruitcake, or pie that features a thick consistency. Therefore, professionals recommend having sugary snacks that dissolve quickly when your sweet tooth must be satisfied.
Additional information from your Century City dentist may include the fact that the speed of tooth decay also depends on the length of time certain foods remain in your mouth. For example, breath mints, hard candy, cough drops and chewing gum usually remain in the mouth for long periods. This means that your teeth are being subjected to acid attacks until the product is dissolved or thrown away. One helpful tip you can use during the holidays is to replace such products with sugar-free varieties that are just as tasty, but will not create an acidic reaction with your mouth's bacteria.
Additional tips you can use when surrounded by tempting holiday sweets include the following:
Even if you regularly schedule the most efficient teeth cleaning Los Angeles professionals can offer, you should still limit between meal snacks. If you simply cannot overcome your cravings, choose treats that break down quickly, as opposed to those of a gummy consistency. You should also consider chewing sugarless gum immediately after consuming holiday snacks: sugarless gum boosts the flow of saliva, and subsequently helps wash away food particles and decay-producing acid.
Although the American Dental Association has always recommended flossing your teeth once a day and brushing at least twice, you may want to consider an extra brushing each day during the holiday season. This is particularly true if you have a sweet tooth and are surrounded by tempting snacks in which you will likely indulge.
Finally, as always, see your Century City dentist regularly to avoid tooth and gum problems and to make sure you have a full arsenal of holiday tips for healthy teeth.