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So you like to eat sweets, but you’re worried about your teeth?  Perhaps you’ve had one too many childhood nightmares at the dentist?  Well you can have your cake, and eat it too.  You can enjoy sweets without running into problems with cavities or gum disease if you take care to follow a few helpful reminders.

Let’s cut right to the chase.  The real reason why your teeth can be adversely affected by candies is because of all that sugar.  It’s not the sugar that puts holes in your teeth; it’s the bacteria that grows on the sugar which causes the decay.  As they slowly feed on the sugar, your outer enamel is weakened enough that the bacteria continues eating right through it.

So the moral of the story is to make sure that your teeth are clean after you eat candy.  Now, not everyone carries a toothbrush with them so there are a few things you can do to help things out.  On the most basic level you can drink a glass of water with your snack.  This will help to wash away excess sugar but won’t be able to get rid of all of it.  Note that drinking a cola or any other drink with sugar in it does not count.

Another thing that really helps is to chew some sugar-free gum.  Nowadays most gum is already sugar free, except for the ones that still come in sticks like Juicy Fruit.  The benefit of chewing some gum is that it gets your saliva glands going.  Saliva is a mild digestive fluid that will help to break down bits of leftover food and sugar.

Of course, nothing really replaces a good tooth brushing.  You’ll need to brush carefully in problem areas like along the gum line.  That’s where the majority of leftover food and sugar gets trapped simply because it’s hard to reach with your tongue and even with a brush.  Flossing will help to augment your dental hygiene as well.

This may sound like any other dental hygiene lecture you’ve heard, and you’re probably right.  But the point here is that there is no reason to get cavities from eating sweet snacks.  Sweets are meant to increase your appreciation of daily life by providing something tasty to munch on and delight the taste buds.

If you eat a lot of sweets only to get a cavity later on, or worse, gum disease, you’ve effectively erased all of the net benefits of eating sweets.  Careful oral hygiene will allow you to continue racking up those life bonuses without having to visit the dentist for some drilling and filling.

Please enjoy your sweets safely and don’t let me find out you got nailed with a cavity!