1. If I cut down on my sugar intake, I’ll cut down on my risk for cavities.

Myth3Mostly TRICK. The amount of sugar you eat matters less than the length of time that sugar sits on your teeth. The combination of bacteria, sugar and acid is what actually causes tooth decay, and the longer sugar sits in your mouth, the more acid is produced and the more likely decay will occur. As kids’ (and adults, too!) candy consumption increases this time of year, it’s important to note that anything chewy or sticky can get stuck in the crevices of the teeth and cause decay. Hard candies and lollipops that stay in the mouth for long periods of time are also prime offenders for decay. Surprisingly, plain chocolate, or even those popular peanut butter cups, is a better choice because it melts quickly, staying on the teeth for less time.

If you’ve heard sugar-free candies and gum are better options, you’re right. Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities because it increases saliva production and dislodges food from between teeth. But beware – the same isn’t true of sugar-free soda, as its acid content can be even harder on teeth than sugar.

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