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Trick-or-treating time is here, and with it often comes candy that can bring a smile to anyone’s face–but do you know how to take care of that smile through all the sugary goodies?

First, to know what to do about the treats you have, it is important to understand what sugar does to your smile.

The bacteria present in your mouth feed on sugars and simple carbohydrates. As they feed on this sugar, they convert it into acids that erode your tooth enamel. The longer the sugar stays in your mouth, the more acid the bacteria produce, and the more rapidly your teeth erode. Thus, it is a good idea to get the sugars out of your mouth as quickly as possible. This also applies to naturally or artificially acidic foods.

A good way to neutralize cavity-causing acids is to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes right after eating. This stimulates saliva production; saliva is the body’s first defense against cavities. It cleans food particles away, and neutralizes the acid present after eating. This prepares your teeth for brushing–teeth are very sensitive to abrasion after you consume acidic foods, and the saliva protects them from the abrasion of brushing.

After eating sticky, starchy, or sugary foods, Chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes, then brush your teeth extra-thoroughly that day. Remember to floss once per day, removing plaque and food from between teeth. This is extremely important to mouth health, as food particles and plaque can easily get caught between teeth and cause cavities in hard-to-reach places.

For more information, call Blue Stream Dental in Kansas City, Missouri, at 816-569-9787.  Dr. William D. Ledford and our team look forward to making your smile shine this holiday season!