Christmas is a great time for gathering with family and friends and enjoying a lot of food, but it’s not always a good time for your teeth. Before reaching for a treat this holiday season, keep in mind that you should avoid the following foods and drinks in order to maintain a healthy smile.
Crunchy candy canes and hard candies are satisfying treats during the holidays, but it’s best to stay away from them. These sweet treats cover your teeth with sugar, which attracts bacteria. These bacteria can lead to tooth decay and wear away the enamel on your teeth. Enamel protects your teeth from damage, so it’s crucial that you preserve it.
Soda and other carbonated beverages containing high levels of sugar can do a lot of damage to your teeth. We all know that the sugar can contribute to tooth decay without proper oral hygiene. Plain sparkling water is probably not too much of a concern, but be cautious with the fruity, carbonated beverages.
White wine is very acidic. These high amounts of acid put tooth enamel at risk of eroding. If you enjoy having a glass of wine with Christmas dinner, choose red wine rather than white wine. Red wine does not damage tooth enamel and might even help destroy bacteria on your teeth. Keep in mind that red wine can cause staining, though. So it’s a good idea to rinse with water after you’ve finished your glass.
Eggnog is a traditional Christmas drink, but it’s better for your teeth if you skip it. This drink is filled with sugar, which increases your risk of tooth decay. Hot cocoa is another sugary drink to avoid, especially if you tend to add lots of marshmallows. If you want to warm up with a hot drink, stick to tea without sugar. For a refreshing cold drink, have a glass of milk, which provides your teeth with calcium to keep them strong.
Caramel is definitely a delicious treat, but it has very high amounts of sugar. It also sticks to teeth easily, making it difficult to remove. The longer caramel sits on your teeth, the more bacteria it attracts. This raises your risk of tooth decay and enamel loss. Avoid treats that have caramel, such as cookies, candy and popcorn.
Oral Health Tips for the Holidays
Keep these tips in mind for healthy teeth this holiday season:
- Eat cheese, nuts and vegetables. Cheese and vegetables help prevent tooth decay, while nuts help lower your risk of gum disease.
- Brush right after eating. If you eat foods or have beverages that aren’t good for your teeth, brush immediately afterward to keep bacteria at bay. After having a soda, it’s a good idea to give your mouth a rinse and brush about 20 minutes after that.
- Drink water throughout the day. Water helps remove bacteria from your teeth and helps prevent staining.
If you need a checkup or dental work performed this holiday season, please contact Brewery District Dental to set up an appointment.