With so many holiday ads coming at us from every direction, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Thanksgiving and Christmas and completely forget about calories. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without pumpkin pie and whipped cream and we all have a favorite Christmas candy.
We usually eat our share of these and other wonderful treats and simply tell ourselves we’ll go on a big diet after New Year’s. Though your waistline can suffer during the holidays, so can your teeth. Many a child and adult with visions of sugar plums dancing in their head will wake up sometime in January to find that they have some new cavities. Dentists often see patients around the beginning of the year who went a bit overboard during the holidays and now they are suffering from a toothache.
With that in mind, let’s look at some things that we can all do to keep our teeth healthy while still enjoying the wonders of the Holiday Season.
How Sugar Affects Our Teeth
When we indulge in sugary foods and drinks, we are providing food to the bacteria in our mouths that feed on that same sugar. Harmful acids are created as a by-product from the bacteria breaking down the sugars, and that acid is what weakens enamel and begins cavity formation.
If you have sweet snacks around the house, it can be tempting to snack on those throughout the day. This is also true during parties, where we are constantly nibbling on homemade candies, cakes and pies or drinking sweet beverages like cola or wine. All the latest research confirms that snacking on sweets continuously will lead to tooth decay and gum disease much faster. The answer? Good, consistent dental care.
Since we know that we will most likely go ahead and enjoy those scrumptious holiday delicacies, then it’s best to make a commitment now to practice good oral hygiene. This can head off some potential dental problems and give us peace of mind about reaching for those chocolate covered raisins and peanut brittle.
Tip Number One
Buy a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste and stick it in your purse or pocket, especially when going out to a Christmas party or anywhere that rich, sugary foods will be served. It’s important to brush as soon as possible after having high-sugar foods and drinks.
Tip Number Two
Try to eat sweets and foods high in carbs as part of a balanced meal, instead of simply eating them alone. When eating larger meals, our bodies produce more saliva and this works to help digest foods and neutralize damaging acids before they can attack your teeth.
Stay Away from Sticky Foods
Try to limit your consumption of chewy or sticky foods. Some of these may seem nutritious, but foods that force you to chew them for a long time also stick to your teeth longer. After eating things like dried fruit, raisins, chewy candies and such, try to rinse out your mouth or brush as soon as possible.
Get a Checkup Now
Healthy teeth and gums are so important and it’s simple to maintain our dental health even during the holiday season if we will just take a few precautions. Dr. Ryan Jones encourages you to call the office and make an appointment before the holidays. By getting a professional dental check-up now, you’ll be more conscientious about indulging in those rich holiday foods. Dr. Jones can let you know if you have any problem areas that need special attention.
At our office, you’ll find digital state-of-the-art x-ray equipment and all the latest dental healthcare tools. Patients receive the very best treatment options available in a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere. We work with our patients to maintain that beautiful, healthy smile year-round.