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Ask the Doctor: Holiday eating

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Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013 10:42 am

The holidays are here and that means that freshly baked cookies, hot chocolate and all kinds of sweets are right at your fingertips. During this time it is especially important to take care of your teeth. You don’t need to cancel out eating sweets altogether – rather you should monitor how much and how often you are eating them.

How much is too much?

There is no exact amount, but have desserts and sweets within reason. It’s not what you eat; it’s how often you are eating it. Look at it this way…your teeth are in an environment. The key is to keep that environment as neutral as possible. When you eat or drink your mouth becomes acidic and decay loves an acidic environment. Your saliva needs time to neutralize the mouth and snacking does not allow your mouth to do that.

How often would you recommend I snack then?

Giving your body a few hour gaps is good. That gives time for your saliva to neutralize again before eating something again. So, if you want dessert don’t wait an hour after dinner to eat it. Eat the dessert immediately after. That way you finish quicker and your saliva can neutralize again.

If your mouth is acidic on a consistent basis than there is a higher chance of decay and cavities to form. If the acid is not neutralized it will destroy the tooth structure. So by eating sweets consistently you are promoting an environment for bacteria and its by-products to accumulate.

Overall, the best way to prevent an acidic environment is by eating in moderation and at expanded intervals of time. Also, if it’s not convenient to brush and floss then wash everything down with water.

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