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According to Scientific American, our ancestors used sweet or fatty foods as rare treats, and since food wasn’t always plentiful, they were also needed to survive when they became available. But in today’s world where food is often available around the clock, following this instinct in our brain that boosts its reward center can harm us.

Harmful bacteria in your mouth give off acids when they are exposed to sugar. The acids attack your tooth enamel as they get rid of minerals (demineralization). Thankfully, saliva helps to remineralize tooth enamel by bathing the teeth in calcium and phosphates.

Oral acid can soften tooth enamel for 20-30 minutes every time you eat. But with sugary foods, this acid level rises even higher. Because our diets have changed from three meals a day to snacking frequently, your teeth are constantly at risk from acid erosion.

To counteract this, we recommend waiting for half an hour after you eat before brushing your teeth. This will give the oral acids time to dilute from your saliva, and further protect tooth enamel from being harmed as you brush.

In addition, chewing sugarless gum will stimulate healthy saliva production. Saliva rinses away oral debris and food particles to keep the mouth moist and encourage saliva flow after eating.

So instead of snacking throughout the day on sugary treats this time of year, be wise and limit it to mealtimes when possible. This will help neutralize the acids and protect your pearly whites.

Dayton Hart DMD in Foley, Alabama, is always delighted to help your smile stay safe throughout the holiday season. To schedule a visit with our dentist, Dr. Dayton Hart just call 251-943-2471 today. Happy Holidays!