The holidays are right around the corner, which means plenty of tasty foods. Although it is a great time of the year to spend with your friends and loved ones, the holidays can leave a lasting mark on your smile. Many seasonal dishes contain sugars and starches, which can increase your risk for tooth decay. Unfortunately, cavity-causing bacteria isn’t the only danger. Your dentist has a list of the top 4 harmful holiday foods for your smile.
Stuffing is a holiday treat for many, despite the simpleness of the dish. Whether stuffed inside of a turkey or eaten as a side, stuffing mostly consists of bread. The carbohydrates will begin to digest almost instantly in your mouth, causing the starches to convert into sugar. The sugars are responsible for oral bacteria that are known to break down the surface of the tooth. It also encourages plaque to stick to your teeth. It’s better to skip the stuffing and reach for some vegetables instead.
2. Candy Canes
Candy canes are everywhere—from Christmas trees to beautifully wrapped presents. Unfortunately, they are essentially pure sugar. They also contain a modified starch called high fructose corn syrup. Since candy canes melt in the mouth, it bathes your teeth in the sugary residue for a prolonged time. To skip the risk, chewing on it won’t help. While your teeth are protected by the hardest substance in your body, hard candies can break your enamel. You don’t want to spend the holidays sitting in the dental chair. If you need something sweet, choose a piece of chocolate because it’s easier to remove from your teeth.
Although not everyone loves eggnog, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it. If you love a glass of eggnog on a cold winter night, choose one that doesn’t contain alcohol or sugar. While it’s ok in moderation, you don’t want to expose your teeth to the high sugar content or alcohol every evening.
4. Baked Goods
Gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies are family traditions in many homes. While you and your loved ones create new memories in the kitchen, don’t let your baked goods come back to haunt their smiles. It’s best to have them in moderation. If you can’t ignore your sweet tooth, eat your treat along with your meal or shortly after. Eating encourages saliva production to cleanse the mouth from food residue and bacteria to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Enjoy a Beautiful Smile for the Holidays
With a few different selections at the dinner table, you can safeguard your smile from tooth decay and gum disease. Don’t forget to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss every night before going to bed.
About Dr. Frank J. Sapienza
Dr. Sapienza earned his dental degree at the New York University College of Dentistry. He continues to pursue his training and education to remain ahead of the curve to create healthy, beautiful smiles. If you need a cleaning and checkup before the holidays, contact our office today for an appointment.