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Healthy teeth, gums during the holidays
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 Traditionally speaking, this time of year finds many people over indulging in candy -coated sweets and treats. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and then New Year’s, candies, cookies, bonbons and other sugary goodies seem to be everywhere. 
If you ask me, over indulging on syrupy items throughout the holidays just seem to make the season a little bit sweeter, but because of the extra sugar intake we should all be mindful of the need to practice good oral hygiene in order to maintain good oral health.
There are a few approaches to good oral health you can try during this time of year such as designating someone in your house to be the treat police so you don’t overdo the goodies but that’s highly unlikely.  Then there’s the option of denying any and all sugary goodies all together.   While that certain can be effective, let’s face it, completely denying ourselves sugar treats during the holidays often causes them to become even more desirable and in a moment of weakness a full blown binge can occur, leaving trails of sugar on your teeth and gums.  So what’s the answer?
Manteca dentist Dr. Sean Sangalang shares a very simple solution to how can enjoy your cookies and candies while at the same time caring for your teeth and gums during the treat-filled holidays as well as all year round.
 “The  best way to combat the acidic environment created in the mouth is to make sure you practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for a minimum of 2 minutes and flossing once a day, making sure to clean all surfaces of each tooth,” Sangaland said. “Once these basics are established and implemented daily, one can add in supplemental things like the use of mouthwash.”
 This may sound like obvious advice to some but for many of us, during the holidays we think frosting not flossing.  What a great reminder for sweet lovers such as myself how simply brushing your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes and then using floss followed by mouthwash can be a simple and effective way to decrease the possibility of dental decay during this time of year.
 One very surprising fact that Sangalang shared is that items containing Xylitol, can actual help prevent dental decay.  “Xylitol is a natural carbohydrate that tastes like sugar and has been shown to reduce plaque formation.  The use of a Xylitol containing product 5 times per day produces the best results.”
 So what items contain Xylitol?   Besides toothpaste and oral rinses made by companies such as Biotene, ACT and Xlear, Xylitol items include goodies like lollipops, caramels, peppermints, gourmet chocolate, peanut butter and toasted toffee with almonds by the company Dr. Johns along with various Jell-o puddings, Trident and Orbit gum and much more.
Since reducing plaque buildup can prevent gum disease and other health issues, caramel, gourmet chocolate and other treats made with Xylitol just may be a win/win solution for the sweet tooth and the need for healthy teeth.
This holiday season and all year through you can maintain good oral hygiene with a few simple steps.  After all, taking care of your teeth and gums does more than just give you a bright, beautiful smile but makes a healthy mouth a healthier you.