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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.

Of course, you can always enjoy treats that aren’t full of sugar. For example, you may consider salty snacks such as pretzels or popcorn. However, sugar may not cause the problems you think it does.  You see, 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.

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.

If you are excited to learn that chocolate can actually hold off decay, there’s more you should know. Sadly, not every type of chocolate is created equal. In fact, the tannin that can benefit you is inside cacao, which is more prevalent in dark chocolate than in white or milk chocolate. This means that dark chocolate offers more benefits than the others.   It is also better to 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 us at 904-641-2655. Dr. James E. Gaff and our entire team are eager to hear from you.