Many people are acutely aware that the holidays are a time of increased health concern. However, their vigilance often ends at the scale; it’s easy to neglect how all the sweets and indulgences of holidays affect our teeth as well as our waistlines. There are plenty of ways to be mindful of your oral health and keep your teeth strong during the holidays while still celebrating the season.
C0ntrol Your Sweet Tooth
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the holidays may be your favorite time of year. You want to avoid cavities, but you also want to indulge a bit. If this is true for you, you can enjoy some chocolates and your favorite desserts in moderation. But there are a few types you absolutely must avoid:
- Hard candies: Avoid candies that take a long time to eat, such as candy canes and lollipops.
- Dark Berry Pies: Intensely pigmented molecules from darker berries stick to enamel and can stain your teeth. The acidity from berries like blueberries, blackberries or cherries can harm enamel. Make sure to brush and floss directly after consumption if you can’t say no to the holiday indulgence.
- Sticky candies: Like hard candies, sticky treats linger too long in your mouth and harbor bacteria. Indeed, sticky candies can stay on your teeth for hours.
Be Aware of Beverages That Stain Your Teeth
Remember that there are many drinks that harm your teeth as well. For example, eggnog and hot chocolate are both loaded with sugar, which result in plaque that attack the enamel. Also be mindful of mixed drinks. Darker liquors or sodas used as mixers stain teeth. Drinkers who prefer these beverages can usually say goodbye to their white smiles.
One of the most prominent teeth stainers year round, and especially through the holidays is wine. The main cause of staining is from ‘chromogens’. These are pigment-producing substances that can adhere to enamel and stain teeth. In addition, the tannins in red wine help the chromagens bind to the teeth. If you don’t want to avoid soda, liquor or wine, try to use a straw to augment your refreshment habits this holiday season. Drinking water in between beverages can also help to keep the teeth and mouth rinsed and avoid stains.
If you do want a treat or two during a holiday, avoid the options listed above and rinse your mouth right after you eat your snack. Also remember to follow a routine cleaning schedule with your dentist. Consider making a special trip after the holidays to check for problems and get your teeth back into prime condition. If you do develop a cavity or need any work done on your teeth, visit the Cosmetic Dentistry Center in New York City.