Tooth – Safe Holiday Treats For Your Smile This Season
The holidays are a wonderful time of year, full of family activities and wonderful food. However, no one wants a toothache or an emergency trip to the dentist during their holiday vacation. Dr. Yazdan and the Newport Beach team at The Center for Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry want you to enjoy this time of year while minimizing your risk for dental drama.
Certain Treats and Teeth Do Not Get Along
We all love holiday candies, desserts, and drinks. More than likely, you deserve to enjoy them during this festive time of year. However, most holiday treats are filled with sugar and processed carbs. Not only are these things harmful to your waistline, but they are also very detrimental to your teeth.
While sugar itself does not cause tooth decay, it does feed harmful bacteria in your mouth that is more than eager to begin a cavity. When plaque and food debris are left on your teeth, they combine with the sugar you consume to produce an acid. This acid weakens the enamel of the tooth creating a cavity.
Besides the sugar content, many holiday treats are hard and sticky. They are difficult to bite into and chew, putting you at risk for a fracture to your tooth surface and to your restorations. Hard and sticky treats also take a long time to eat and tend to stick to the chewing portions of your teeth. This increases the exposure of sugar to your teeth which makes your chances of developing tooth decay higher.
Treats To Consider Avoiding
Peppermint Sticks and Candy Canes
These treats are classic holiday staples; they’re often used for decorations and make a great addition to hot chocolate. However, keep in mind they are very hard and should not be bitten into. Peppermint sticks and candy canes also take a very long time to eat and leave a sugary residue on many tooth surfaces.
Toffees and Peanut Brittle
Similar to peppermint sticks, toffees and brittles should be kept at a minimum to avoid damage to your teeth and dental work. Full of sugar and very hard, they can easily chip a tooth or pull your crown right off.
We all know that popcorn can easily get lodged between teeth and stuck in your gum tissue. Caramel corn, however, is coated with a delicious sugary coating which is a feast for plaque and bacteria on your teeth. When a piece of caramel corn gets stuck between teeth, you are much more likely to develop sensitive tooth decay as well as irritation to the gum tissue.
While apple cider smells and tastes like the holidays, consider drinking apple cider as bathing your teeth in sugar. Since drinking allows the liquid to basically touch all surfaces of your teeth, you are exposing your entire mouth. Each time you take a sip of cider, the acidity level in your mouth becomes high enough to produce tooth decay.
Try These Treats Instead:
While cheese is a great treat for any celebration, it is also a very tooth-friendly snack. Eating cheese can actually raise the pH level in your mouth which will reduce your risk of developing a cavity. Cheese is also an excellent source of calcium which promotes healthier teeth and bones. Instead of a platter of holiday cookies, try a cheese and cracker tray.
While milk chocolate is often used to fill stockings, consider using dark chocolate this year to reduce your children’s sugar intake. Most dark chocolates are organic and contain about 6 grams of sugar per serving which is much less than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate makes delicious hot chocolate as well.
Gingerbread contains less sugar than most cookies, making it healthier for your waistline and your teeth. It is also easier to eat than other hard, brittle treats which will reduce the risk of breaking a tooth or having sugar sticking around too long. Try baking your own gingerbread and decorating it yourself to control how much sugar is used.
Sweet Peppermint Tea
This delicious drink is a great alternative to apple cider and also provides the sweet peppermint flavor you may miss from candy canes. Sweet peppermint tea can be made at home so the amount of sugar can be easily controlled. This type of tea can also aid in digestion and will keep you warm during the cold holiday season.
Minimize Snacking and Maximize Home Care
Family festive feasts are what make the holidays special. Tables of foods, snacks and beverages while visiting family and friends is most likely your tradition. Minimizing snacking between meals will help keep you out of the dental chair. Frequent snacking reintroduces sugar and carbohydrates to your mouth and keeps the acid production cycle going.
If brushing after your meal is not an option, drink water to help clean debris and sugar from your mouth. Begin and end each day by brushing and flossing and consider using a non-alcoholic mouth rinse.
The Center for Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry understands that the holidays are a time of indulgence. Fill your time in Newport Beach with family, food and your favorite traditions. While making the best choices for your oral health and dental health are important, keep in mind you deserve your holiday treats. Keeping these treats to a minimum and maintaining great home care will keep you from having a dental emergency during this holiday season.
About Dr. Yazdan
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