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Virtually everyone enjoys a sweet treat, but do you worry about what these treats can do to your teeth?  Naturally, there are some treats that are better for your smile than other. In fact, there are some treats you should consider avoiding altogether, but there are a few things you can occasionally indulge in.

Obviously, you could simply eat healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to avoid problems with sweets entirely. If you can’t stomach the idea of snacking of fruits and vegetables, you could simply eat salty snacks like pretzels, crackers, or popcorn. However, before you make that decision, you should understand what happens in your mouth when you eat—and what sugar does to your mouth.

In reality, it is acid—not sugar—that causes tooth decay.  The foods either contain acids or create acids in your mouth. Acid—not sugar—causes problems in your mouth. However, sugar creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, which leads to more acid, but so do other foods such as starches.

Fortunately, your saliva will negate the effects of acid. You can promote saliva simply by chewing gum or eating an apple. Similarly, a substance known as tannin can also reduce acids.  Some foods and beverages that contain tannin include red wine, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

However, some chocolates are better for your teeth than others. This is partially because the tannin in chocolate is in the cocoa. Since dark chocolate has more cocoa—and also less sugar than white and milk chocolate—it’s probably your best choice.  You should also avoid chocolates with chewy fillings that can damage dental work and stick to your teeth. In reality, you should avoid foods like taffy and caramel altogether.

Finally, while you may be tempted to brush your teeth after you eat something sweet, you should wait at least half an hour. The acids from the food you eat will weaken the outer layer of your teeth, meaning your brush will cause additional damage.  After half an hour, your enamel will harden itself again.

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact Generations Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at 813-251-5740.Dr. David Goldschein and our entire team are eager to hear from you.