The holidays are a time for fun and enjoyment when we tend to eat – and drink – differently than we do for the rest of the year. Here are some holiday favourites that can do a number on your oral health – and some tips to help protect your teeth while you’re enjoying the festivities.
Found in beverages and even some mouthwash, alcohol dries your mouth. Because we need saliva to wash away food debris and remineralize our teeth, a dry mouth leaves us open to cavities, gum issues, and bad breath.
Along with all hard candies – candy canes are a double threat. Not only are they made of solid sugar – the food bacteria need to create the acids that cause tooth decay, they are hard and for most people, almost impossible not to crunch. This can cause chipped or cracked teeth, or even pull out a filling.
Best left to decorate your gingerbread house, gummy candies can damage your beautiful smile by bathing your teeth in sugar and pulling out restorations. For people with TMJ issues, gummy candies can make your symptoms worse.
A good choice for bumping up your vitamin C levels in winter, citrus fruit can damage your teeth. Highly acidic, citrus can wear down your enamel, causing weak and sensitive teeth. Ouch!
Sweet and sticky fruitcake is another one of those foods that is best left alone. Like all sticky foods, they feed the bacteria that cause decay and bad breath and can dislodge weak teeth or crowns.
Tips to help
I’m not saying you should avoid having fun and enjoying holiday foods, but when you know how they can damage your teeth, you can take steps to protect yourself.
- minimize the amount of time these foods and drinks are in contact with your teeth
- rinse with plain water to remove food debris and acids
- brush, floss, and rinse at least twice a day … ideally 20 minutes after eating
- schedule your family’s spring hygiene appointments
- keep our number nearby in case of dental emergency, call us right away and we’ll have you smiling again in no time!
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
– Dr. Jordana Platt