This year has been a trying one for many of us, perhaps even most of us. Now 2020 is drawing to a close, and what better way to close off this year than with an epic holiday season? For kids, that means playing in the snow, hot chocolate, and opening presents. For adults, gifts typically take a backseat to the simple pleasures of family and food.
The holiday season brings with it many delights, including favourite foods that may not be enjoyed at other times of the year. It is almost a cliché to overindulge on both meals and sweets. While we certainly wouldn’t want to put a damper on your holiday merriment, it’s worth keeping in mind that some of those festive foods are not the best bet for healthy teeth. We suggest keeping your daily dental routine constant throughout the holidays to keep your teeth healthy and white.
Here are some of the top holiday foods to avoid for healthier teeth:
- Candy Canes. Not many sweets are as associated with this time of year as candy canes. They bring to mind images of sitting on Santa’s lap and other childhood memories, and as such, have something of a “happy factor.” But they won’t make your teeth happy. You can’t win with these red-and-white sticks of sugar. If you suck them as intended, that’s long-term dental exposure to sugar. Biting them is as bad or even worse, possibly resulting in a tooth fracture or at best (worst?) they get lodged in your teeth. If you simply must have candy canes, they do better on your tree than in your mouth.
- Caramel. While candy canes seek to break your teeth, caramel looks to hug them, coating your teeth and sticking to them, wearing away the enamel and increasing the likelihood of tooth decay. It’s even better than candy canes at getting between your teeth and sitting there for what feels like forever.
- Eggnog. Appearing only at this time of year, eggnog is a seasonal favourite that might fool you into thinking it’s not too unhealthy by hanging out in the milk section of the grocery store. Eggnog has a high sugar content, making it a bad choice where your dental health is concerned. As if that wasn’t bad enough, eggnog is often paired with rum or other alcoholic beverages. That may make for some interesting holiday parties, but it also leads to a dry mouth. The reduced presence of saliva means sugar residue stays in the mouth.
- Sugary Drinks. Not really limited to the holidays, sugary drinks are always a problem and you may find yourself consuming more than usual with all the holiday feasting. Best to avoid them, no matter what time of year it is.
- Sugary Baked Goods. Many people like to bake for the holidays, but the abundance of sugar cookies, brownies, and cake are no cause for celebration to your teeth. Even fruitcake with its dried fruit has a high sugar content and sticks to your teeth.
- White wine. Some will point out that white wine won’t stain your teeth the way red can, but in truth, red wine can at least say that it kills bad bacteria in your mouth. White wine’s acidity allows pigmented foods and drinks to stain your teeth on a deeper level. Both red and white will dry your mouth.
- Chocolate. A big part of the holidays for many, chocolate has the same problem as almost everything else on this list: sugar. Hot cocoa adds dairy to the equation, which means that not only are you adding to your risk of cavities, but you could also end up with a case of bad breath. If you simply need chocolate to be a part of your holidays, at least limit yourself to a small amount of dark chocolate, which is naturally lower in sugar and dairy.
While this list might seem like it’s taking some of the enjoyment out of the holidays, there are still plenty of healthy things to snack on, including cheese, nuts, and veggies like carrots. Watch what you eat this holiday season to avoid giving yourself the “gift” of a new cavity and having to get a new filling.
Contact us today for a consultation with one of our caring professionals and learn how we can help beautify your smile.