What was Mom’s biggest refrain about teeth? Sugar! “You will ruin those beautiful teeth!”

Sugar, dentists say, is not the problem. How long the sugar stays on teeth is the problem. Given enough time, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar and excrete damaging acid that can eat through enamel forming cavities.

So if you eat candy, brush afterward if you can.

Or chew some gum! Amazingly, even sugar gum is not a big no-no for teeth, the dentists say. It churns up lots of saliva, which carries off the sugar in short order.

Some sugarless gum, containing xylitol, is even a good decay-preventer. In fact, in California, researchers are trying to make Gummi Bears into a dental aid by making them with xylitol.

Soda, too, is not too much of a tooth problem, if you brush or drink water afterward. In fact, the diet kind contains more phosphates than can be acidic to enamel and may be a bigger threat to your choppers than regular.

Dark chocolate is not too bad for your teeth, either, Price notes.

Well, that makes it all worthwhile!

That — and not having to crush all that ice anymore.