Denying your sweet-tooth can be hard, but there are a few things you can do after you have a sweet treat to keep it from harming your teeth. The following guide may help reduce the likelihood of a dental-related issue due to your sugar-intake.

Cavities and Sugar

Sugar does not cause cavities on its own. The truth is, harmful bacteria in your mouth need to feed, and sugar is a source of food. The bacteria eat up the sugar and use it to make your mouth acidic. Oral pathogens flourish in acidic environments. The bacteria in your mouth use their bacterial acid to destroy your enamel and eat your dentin away. This is how oral pathogens create cavities and how sugar is involved.

Consider These Tips After You Have a Sweet Treat

  1. Thoroughly rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or plain water. This should help lift candy residue, which bacteria feed on. Remember that you will be making your mouth antibacterial if you rinse your teeth with alkaline water. Alkaline water rebalances your pH value, reducing the chances of bacteria to even feed.
  2. Chew a piece of xylitol or sugarless gum. Xylitol is a type of sweetener that oral pathogens cannot consume, which should help reduce their numbers. Chewing gum should loosen up any residue stuck on your teeth or in between your teeth. Chewing also activates your salivary glands, and saliva helps keep your mouth unfriendly to bacteria.
  3. Chew on an apple after you finish your treat. The natural crunchiness of apples should help lift some residue off of your teeth. Apples also contain malic acid, which is an active ingredient that is naturally astringent. Malic acid inhibits the formation of bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are sticky layers that bacteria use to latch themselves to your teeth.
  4. Wait to brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth is one of the last things you want to do, simply because brushing your teeth might smear the residue around. You might even lodge candy particles deeper into your teeth. You want to brush after you have chewed some gum or done a rinse. You can also use this time to floss. 

As you can see, there are ways you can protect your teeth after indulging in something sweet. This does not mean that you should overindulge; oral pathogens may still find a way to use your sugar cravings. Remember that any pain, or even bad breath, could be an indication of a cavity, so don't forget those dentist appointments. For more information and tips, talk to the dentist at a local clinic like Medin Family Dental