Let’s face it: We’re all at risk for cavities. You can significantly lower your risk by limiting the amount of sugar that hits your teeth in the first place.

The longer food that promotes plaque bacteria stays in your mouth, the worse it is. So it's not necessarily the amount of sweets you eat, but how often you eat them.

These tips can help reduce tooth-decay risk from the foods you eat:

1. If you consume sugary foods, do so with your meals rather than in between. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. 

2. When consuming acidic drinks, including fruit juice and carbonated beverages, drink quickly and use a straw for limited contact with teeth and gums. Don’t swish them around in your mouth.

3. To prevent tooth erosion, rinse with water after consuming high-acid food such as tomato sauce and dill pickles, as well as acidic drinks such as soda and fruit juice. Water will dilute the acids.

4. Cut down on sweet and starchy between-meal snacks. When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to tooth decay.

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