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As the saying goes, "We are what we eat."

That's why eating well is so important to maintaining good health. But, did you know that some foods can have a negative impact on the well-being of your teeth? As delicious as they may be, there are some products that are simply bad when it comes to oral hygiene.

When it comes to preventing tooth decay, you should try to avoid:

♦ Alcohol – Drinks like beer and liquors dry out your mouth over time, creating the conditions for decay-causing bacteria to take root due to the lack of saliva. Be sure to drink in moderation to avoid excessive dryness and, if possible, keep some water on-hand to swish around between your teeth after drinking.

♦ Candy – Sugary treats can give you a quick boost but, depending on the type, can do real damage when exposed to your teeth for too long. Caramels, lollipops, mints and other varieties that you pop in your mouth can, over time, wear down tooth enamel. Researchers for the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) suggest that, if you give in to the sweet tooth, try chocolate, as the fat content dissolves faster.

♦ Soda – Like candy, carbonated soft drinks can have a potentially devastating impact on tooth enamel. In addition to the sugar, URMC scientists report, citric and phosphoric acids used for color and flavorings have been tied to increased levels of oral decay.

While it isn't necessarily bad to indulge in an unhealthy food or drink item every so often, moderation is key to promoting good oral hygiene. In addition to brushing and flossing regularly, making appointments to go see a family dentistry specialist for check-ups and procedures helps keep smiles looking fresh.