It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but if your one-horse open sleigh finds you dashing through the snow to an unexpected dental emergency appointment, you may be lacking in that jingle bell spirit! And after the holidays, no one wants to ring in the New Year with their top resolution being to "Get My Cavities Filled!" Take a look at these common seasonal treats and their dental connection.
- CANDY CANES. Innocently biting down on these much-harder-than-expected pieces of candy can chip your teeth and dental work. While peppermints and other hard-candies are potentially bad for your teeth when you crunch away, they can pose an even greater concern if you let them slowly dissolve in your mouth! Caution is a definite must with treats in this category.
- GUMDROPS. While one of the sweetest ways to decorate for the holidays, these treats are essentially made of corn syrup and sugar that is then rolled in sugar. Unfortunately, this sugar-laden treat is extra-gummy, which causes it to stick between your teeth and take an extra long time to dissolve.
- TOFFEE, CARAMELS, TAFFY. Although this Holiday treat is usually packaged in a ribbon decorated box, these extremely sticky foods are not a gift for your teeth. These chewy candies stick to enamel, dental work, and braces.
- GINGERBREAD HOUSES. While nothing says the holidays like a gingerbread house, these chewy, sticky gingerbread sugary iced covered gumdrops and peppermints make for a better addition to your Christmas decor than to improve your dental health.
While this list wasn't very jolly, and candies and sweets are normally on the Dental naughty list, Scooges we are not! Indulging in a treat or two is part of the Holiday fun. Take a look at a few ways to help you "Dentally" navigate this season.
- BE CHOOSY. Just like you search for that perfect present for your family and friends, take the time to choose the perfect holiday treat for yourself. If you are concerned about cavities, wear braces, or are generally concerned with your oral health, stay away from the sticky, hard, and excessively sugary desserts.
- EAT SWEETS WITH A MEAL. Saliva does more than keep mouths from getting dry. It also helps prevent cavities by washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids from food and bacteria, which damage enamel.
- RINSE AFTER EATING. Rinsing your mouth with plain water after a meal or snack, especially a sugary one, also helps wash away the sticky sugars and carbs, which oral bacteria convert into enamel dissolving acids.
Ho-Ho-Hopefully these tips can provide you some direction as you make your holiday dessert list and check it twice! Remember to increase your brushing and flossing if you are indulging in some seasonal treats. By giving yourself these two gifts, you'll be ringing in the New Year with a beautiful, healthy smile that truly is "Sweet!"