October marks the start of the celebration season filled with sweet treats and delicious hot drinks. It also means that our mouths and teeth will have to fend off constants attacks from sugar. If we are being honest with ourselves, there is absolutely NO WAY we won’t be consuming any of the delicious treats and drinks offered up this season. Fortunately, there is a better way we can consume sugary treats that will keep our mouths and teeth safe from harm. Read on for our 3 tips to help you safely enjoy your treats this fall and holiday season.
1. Length of time it takes you to eat or drink your treat
For your teeth it is less about the amount of cavity-causing foods and drinks you are consuming and more about how long it takes you do so. The duration our teeth are exposed to sugar the better. Bacteria in our mouth convert sugar to acid, it’s the length of time your teeth are exposed to this acid that can cause the most damage. For example, sucking on a hard candy or slowly sipping on hot chocolate can cause more damage than eating a piece of chocolate or cookie monster-ing a cookie.
2. Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth
It may be tempting to brush immediately after eating but it is best to wait for at least 30 minutes after consumption. The acid created by the sugar consumed can make your tooth enamel (top layer of the teeth) weak making it easier to be scrubbed away by a toothbrush. Waiting 30 minutes will allow the enamel to re-strengthen and become safe to brush. If you can’t wait the 30 minutes then our third tip- drinking water- is your best option!
3. Rinse with or drink water
There is a good reason why water is the champion of beverages! Among its many benefits, water will also dilute the acid and help to wash it from your mouth, reducing its potential to cause harm. Eat your treats with water instead of hot chocolate or alternate drinking water with a sugary beverage. If you can remember to swish it around your mouth before you swallow (or spit) it that will help to remove most of the acid from your mouth and teeth.