Holidays and sugary treats go hand-in-hand – how does it effect your teeth?

Holiday songs and stories just remind us of all of the sugary treats that surround us during this time of year. Chocolates, plain and filled, Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Peanut Brittle, Peppermint Brittle, Christmas Fudge, Carmel Corn, Truffles, Caramels, Chocolate Covered everything, Ribbon Candy and of course every color and flavor of Candy Canes you can imagine.

We try and Watch our calories but do we think about the damage the sugary treats do to our teeth. The sugar remaining on tooth surfaces turns into a nasty acid that eats away at your teeth. Simple sugars are the primary energy source for the bacteria.

This mass of bacteria, which is also known as a biofilm or plaque, is a normal biological event. The amount of plaque that forms is dependent on the types of food you eat, the saliva in your mouth and your natural ability to reduce the acids in your mouth. Certain disease and illnesses cause your mouth to be dry and or other conditions that lead to the build up of plaque. This dental plaque creates decay and gum disease.

At the onset, this decay is usually found between teeth and at the gum line. The more decay the more the dentist has to intervene with treatment. Sometimes with fillings, composite or amalgam. The more severe and the deeper the decay goes the more extensive the treatment an individual will need. Crowns, root canals and sometimes even tooth removal.

Periodontal disease, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by the plaque formation at the gum line. This maybe resolved with cleanings, sometimes deep scaling and home hygiene. If ignored it will turn into periodontitis and bone resorbing. This will necessitate surgery and sometimes even tooth removal.

During the Holidays, the less sweet treats you eat, the less you have to worry. If you do eat the sweets please brush and floss as soon as possible to remove any lingering debris. Enjoy the festivities but try to avoid the sweets!

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