While visions of sugar plums, candy canes and delicious desserts are usually dancing in our heads around the holidays, it is possible to maintain healthy oral hygiene and still indulge in the joy of the season. Below are some top tips from Dr. Ed with Tobias Family Dentistry on how to maintain your healthy smile over the holidays.
Limit Sugar Time
Candy bowls at holiday parties are often loaded with sweet treats that can harm your teeth. Sticky candies are some of the worst offenders. They can cling to your teeth leading to tooth decay and they can even yank out existing fillings. Also try to limit consumption of soft drinks, juice and sport drinks, which are chock full of sugar. These drinks wash over teeth and gums and the acidity adversely affects oral health. That said, we know that sugar can be hard to avoid this time of year. It is the holidays after all! Once you do consume sweet snacks, try rinsing your mouth afterwards with water. Or, think about choosing cheese and crackers at your holiday party instead of dessert. Cheese is known to neutralize acid in the mouth and can be a savory and delicious pre-or post dinner treat.
Make Dessert a Part of the Meal
Rather than serving dessert at the end of a meal, try incorporating it into the dinner menu. It is best to eat sugary foods at the same time as a balanced meal. The other foods will not only remove the sugar from your teeth, but they can also aid in neutralizing any acids from the sugar.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Try popping a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth after a meal because it helps clean particles out of the teeth. You don’t have to chew gum for long to reap its benefits. About 20- minutes post-meal should be sufficient, according to the American Dental Association. Look for gums labeled with the ADA Seal, which indicates the gum contains non-cavity causing sweeteners.
Alternate Wine with Water
Whether red or white, the high acidity levels in wine can eat away at a tooth’s enamel. Tooth enamel is critical in the protection against decay and cavities. To avoid damage, refrain from swishing the wine around in your mouth, and drink water in between beverages to rinse the teeth of the acid.
Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Packages, Bottles or Nuts
We know you’re excited to rip open gifts, but please don’t use your teeth! Cutting stubborn ribbons or bottle caps with your teeth can crack or chip them. You also should not test the strength of your teeth by shelling nuts with them. The hard surface of most nutshells can cause serious tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth. Reach for the proper tools – scissors, a bottle opener or nut cracker—instead.
Happy Holidays from Tobias Family Dentistry, (402 Fox Glen Court in
Barrington, 847-381-5654, TobiasFamilyDentistry.com.