It’s the sweetest time of year, and as much fun as that can be, no one wants to spend the extra time and money in January and February getting new cavities filled in because they overindulged for the holidays. While we would love for you to eliminate all sweets from your diet, we realize that’s not realistic, so we have some tips for keeping your risk of cavities low while having your fruitcake and eating it too.
Eat Dessert First!
How’s that for a health recommendation we can all follow? The reason for it is simple: when we eat, our mouth produces saliva to help us break down and digest what we’re eating. That saliva can also help rinse extra sugar out of the mouth, but if the last thing you eat is something sweet, your mouth will stop producing saliva and that sugar will just sit on your teeth where nasty bacteria can feast on it. So, eat dessert first and end your meal on a savory note.
Not only can drinking plenty of water help you avoid a hangover if you’re indulging in eggnog, but it can also help rinse the food and sugar off your teeth, keep gums hydrated, and help the development of saliva, which deposits minerals to help build up the enamel of your teeth.
We know the holidays tend to be a stressful time of year, and that, combined with the abundance of holiday parties going late into the night, can make it hard to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night, but doing so is important to your dental health, as well as your overall health and wellbeing, so try to get some quality shut-eye this holiday season.
If you can, walk right past the dessert table and go straight for the cheese plate. Not only does cheese have plenty of calcium and phosphate to help your body build strong, healthy teeth, it also helps to balance the pH level of your mouth and produces saliva, which as mentioned above, can help rinse food and sugar off the teeth and fight off the unwanted forms of bacteria.
Eat Crunchy Foods
No, we don’t mean candy canes. We’re talking about raw apples, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. These fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and their crunchy texture means they help clean your teeth as you’re eating them.
Sweets to Avoid
While we would love for you to avoid all sweets, we realize that’s just not realistic, so we’ll simply remind you to limit your sugar intake and be especially careful of crunchy holiday cookies and candies, such as candy canes, peppermint bark, and peanut brittle. You should also beware of the super sticky sweets, such as fudge, caramels, taffy, and pecan pie. Remember, it’s the sugar that makes them sticky, so the stickier it is, the more sugar it has, the more damage it’s doing to your teeth.
Beware Of Holiday Drinks
Drinks such as eggnog, cider, and hot cocoa, as they are also full of sugar that can coat your teeth and feed unwanted bacteria. Wine (both red and white) also tends to stain the teeth and wear down the enamel, so you’ll want to limit your adult beverages as well as the kid-friendly ones.
If you have any other questions about keeping your teeth clean and healthy this holiday season, or you want to make sure they’re especially white for the upcoming celebrations, we’re always happy to help and answer questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out.