It’s a fact of life that bad things happen and that troubles will crop up from time to time. Many of us like to counteract all the sourness that life can throw at us with a little sweetness (or a lot) from time to time, sometimes literally. Unfortunately, sweets tend to have a rather damaging effect on teeth. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?

Drink More Water

One of the reasons why sweets are bad for your teeth is that they tend to leave sugary residue on them. The sugar left behind becomes an easy source of food for the bacteria that form plaque and wear away your enamel. Drinking more water can help flush the sugar away from your teeth, reducing the damage it can do. It’s a good idea to wash down your sweets with a good glass of water. As an added bonus, you’ll reap the benefits of being properly hydrated too.

Practice Better Dental Care

Practicing good dental care can go a long way towards mitigating the effects that eating sweets can have on your teeth. In order to protect your teeth from damage, you should be brushing them twice a day for two minutes and flossing once. Using a good mouthwash can help too. Fluoride mouthwash can reduce your cavities and strengthen enamel. Make sure to keep up with your dentist as well. Dental cleanings are almost always more thorough than those you can do yourself, especially since they have better tools and a clearer visual on your teeth.

Be Smart about Timing

Have you ever given much thought to when you’re eating sweets? As it turns out, there may be an argument for it being more a matter of duration rather than quantity. Eating sweet treats constantly throughout the day means your teeth are constantly being exposed to the damaging effects of sugar, not to mention the rest of the negative impacts that sort of consumption can have on your health. If you’re going to eat sweets, it’s far better to eat them in one go and in conjunction with a meal.

As it turns out, there are ways you can mitigate the damaging effects that sweets can have on your teeth. Drinking more water, practicing better dental care, and being smart about your timing in regards to eating sweets can reduce your risk of developing cavities. You don’t have to stop eating them altogether. Just make sure you take the right care if you decide to indulge.

Read this next: Why Vegans Don’t Have to Worry About Halitosis