One of the most popular activities around this time of year is, of course, eating.
The bad part is, many of our favorite holiday foods are damaging to teeth! To ring in 2019 with a healthy smile, follow our advice. We’ve created a holiday guide, complete with naughty and nice foods.
Four Holiday Foods to Avoid
Candy Canes: Candy canes take a long time to eat, and they cover your face in sticky residue in the process. That same sticky coating is also on your teeth! This makes the bacteria in your mouth very happy as they feed on the sugar, producing acid that harms your enamel.
Caramel: Whether it’s in cookies, on popcorn, or in a cake, say no to caramel. This gooey, sticky mess tends to lodge itself into nooks and crannies in your teeth where it hides out and provides a feast for the bacteria in your mouth. It may even be worse than candy canes!
Alcohol: Eggnog and other libations taste delicious, but the alcohol in them can dehydrate you. When you’re dehydrated, this reduces your saliva flow, so your saliva can’t rinse your teeth the way it does when you’re hydrated. Eggnog in particular is an issue, since all that sugary cream clings to your teeth where it stays for hours.
Carbonated Beverages: The sugar in champagne and soda is obviously a problem, but even carbonated water isn’t safe, since the carbonation itself poses an issue. The fizz in these favorite drinks comes from carbon dioxide. When you ingest this ingredient, a reaction in your mouth converts it into carbonic acid, an abrasive chemical that is damaging to your enamel.
Four Holiday Foods to Enjoy Guilt-Free
Turkey: The phosphorus in turkey helps to strengthen your teeth. Just be sure to skip the acidic cranberry sauce!
Nuts: Not only do these contain plenty of calcium, but they act like mini toothbrushes. As you bite into an almond, pecan, or other nut, it gently wipes away plaque from your teeth.
Cheese: Cheese has a low pH balance and antibacterial qualities, both of which prevent bad breath and keep bacteria from building up in your mouth. Plus, the calcium in this food helps strengthen your jawbone, teeth, and gums.
Veggies: Don’t knock the crudité! Since these require a lot of chewing, they help increase saliva production. Indulged in one or more of the foods on the no-no list? We may be able to forgive you if you snack on some raw carrots or celery afterward. The increased saliva flow helps rinse away debris and neutralize acid in your mouth.
Happy Holidays from All Smiles Dental Group!
If you slip up and enjoy one of our foods to avoid, don’t beat yourself up! It is the holidays, after all. Just be sure to brush up 30 minutes after you’ve eaten the food, drink plenty of water, and snack on raw veggies to rinse your mouth.