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Trick-or-treating time is upon us, and with it comes a copious amount of candy and sweet treats. This could bring a smile to anyone’s face–but do you know how to take care of that smile despite the sugary goodies?

To make educated decisions about how much candy to eat and when, you need to understand how sugar affects your smile.

There are bacteria that are present in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars. As they feed on this sugar, they convert it into acids that erode your tooth enamel. The longer the sugar stays next to your teeth, the more acid the bacteria produce, and the more rapidly your teeth erode. This also applies to naturally or artificially acidic foods. Therefore, sticky, acidic candies are especially dangerous for your mouth.

A good way to neutralize effects of acid is to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes right after eating. This stimulates saliva flow; saliva is the body’s first defense against cavities. It cleans food particles away, and neutralizes acids in the mouth. This prepares your teeth for brushing.

After eating sticky, starchy, or sugary foods, be sure to brush your teeth extra-thoroughly that day. Remember to floss once daily, removing plaque from between teeth. This is vital to mouth health, as food and plaque can easily get caught between teeth and cause cavities.

For more information, call Healthy Smiles Dental Care PC in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at 860-623-2601. Dr. Chris Kim and our team are happy to help this holiday season!