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Did you know that the brain is wired to treat sugar and rich fatty foods as a reward? It literally makes us feel good. During the holiday season, we will be inundated with sugary treats, and this can wreak havoc on your smile.

While bacteria in the mouth give off harmful acids whenever you eat, there are certain bacteria that give off acids when they are exposed to sugar. Since the acids demineralize tooth enamel, your teeth are particularly vulnerable. Saliva can help with this since it remineralizes the enamel in teeth as it bathes them in calcium and phosphates. This is vital because this acid softens enamel for up to 30 after you eat something. Especially sugar!

With food so plentiful, many people have gone from eating three meals a day to snacking throughout the day. This subjects the teeth to constant acid attacks. To help with this, you should wait for at least 20 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating. This gives your saliva time to dilute the oral acids and protects your enamel when you brush. In fact, you can stimulate saliva production by chewing on sugarless gum and helps flush away oral debris in the process.

So, when is the best time to eat sugar this holiday season? The trick is to eat it with meals or after a meal. This helps neutralize acids and limits the time of acid exposure on enamel. Your smile will thank you!

Costa Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Ashburn, Virginia, is always ready to help your smile stay safe throughout the year, including the festive holidays. To schedule a visit with our dentist, Dr. Shane R. Costa, please call 703-348-2818 today.