With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a good time to be more health-conscious of what you eat every day. While you may be tempted to grab another holiday treat, don’t forget the long-term effects those seemingly satisfying sugars can have on your health and smile. This season, opt for more healthy holiday foods, and you’ll have a happy and healthy smile to show for it. Here are some of the top holiday foods you should try to avoid to keep your teeth healthy:
We know, it’s not truly the holidays if you don’t have at least one candy cane. Believe it or not, these iconic treats are harmful to your teeth. Hard candies like candy canes are filled with sugar and can cause chipped or even broken teeth if you over-indulge. If you must have one, try to keep it at only one. Your teeth will thank you for it.
While that cup of festive peppermint mocha may be calling your name, try to avoid drinks high in caffeine this holiday season. Caffeine can actually reduce the amount of saliva that your mouth produces, which is critical because saliva is your mouth’s natural way of removing sugars and food particles from your teeth.
Eggnog contains sugar and dairy (and sometimes alcohol), ingredients that when combined could mean bad news for your oral health. The proteins found in dairy products can be converted into sulfur compounds by the bacteria in your mouth, giving your breath a not-so-pleasant odor. In addition, these same bacteria thrive off of the sugars found in foods and drinks such as egg nog. And if you’re a fan of spiked egg nog, your teeth won’t be any happier; alcohol can create a dry mouth, reducing the amount of natural plaque-fighting saliva in your mouth.
As mentioned before, the bacteria in your mouth thrive off of sugars. This sweet treat contains a multitude of sugars, in addition to the natural sugars of fruits. If you don’t rinse or brush your teeth long after consumption, the bacteria will start to feed off of these sugars, producing a byproduct of acids that can cause tooth decay.
This is all not to say that you should avoid these holiday foods entirely; like all foods and drinks, these should be consumed in moderation. In addition, if you practice healthy dental care, like brushing your teeth twice a day, you can avoid the negative dental effects of these foods.