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Eating habits for a healthy smile and body

Your diet--including what and how often you eat--plays an important role in attaining and maintaining a healthy smile. Candy has long been associated with dental caries (cavities), but your teeth are at risk from more than just candy. Many foods and beverages, particularly those high in added sugar, can set the caries process in motion.

CARING FOR YOUR TEETH AND GUMS

Dental caries is caused by a thin film of bacteria called "plaque" that coats your teeth. When you eat or drink, the plaque bacteria digest any sugar and poduce acids that attack your tooth enamel. The stickiness of plaque keeps these acids in contact with the enamel for some time after you have finished eating or drinking. With repeated and prolonged exposure to these acids, your enamel eventually can wear through, resulting in caries.

It is important to remove plaque regularly by brushing your teeth twice daily and cleaning between your teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner once a day. If plaque builds up, it can cause swelling and bleeding of the gingival (gum) tissue. Eventually, the hard and soft tissues that hold your teeth in place can be damaged and you run the risk of loosing teeth.

You should visit your dentist regularly for a complete oral examination and professional cleaning.

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