Why Holiday Sweets Aren’t So Sweet On Teeth
With the Holidays, come an abundance of sugary treats. No need to slack off on those yummy treats, though! There are things you can do to prevent yourself and your children from ending up in the dentist chair come January!
The Holiday Culprit: Sugar
Snacking on sweets and sipping sugary drinks throughout the day increases the risk of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the excess sugar, creating acids, which erode the enamel on teeth. If the sugars aren’t brushed or rinsed off, the acid continues to eat away at the tooth enamel for at least 20 minutes afterwards. The result is tooth enamel that is worn down and susceptible to tooth decay.
What Can I Do To Prevent January Cavities For My kids and Myself?
Follow these tips from Children’s Dental Center so you can enjoy holiday season goodies and protect your teeth and their teeth at the same time!
- Avoid carbohydrate overload at parties (and in general). Makes snacks well rounded. Eat protein, vegetables and fruits first, before the carbohydrates and sugars. There will be less room on your plates (and in your stomach) for the cavity causing culprits like chocolate, and candy, and more room for the nutrition-packed, tooth loving foods like vegetables and lean protein.
- Watch what you and your children drink while your eating. For your kids, have them avoid high-calorie and high sugar drinks such as soda and sports drinks. For you, watch the wine. The acid and sugar in these kinds of drinks remain on your teeth and eat way at your enamel. Your best bet is to sip on water throughout the holiday parties and meals. This will wash away any food particles and sugars stuck on and in between the surfaces of your teeth.
- Lastly, try to get rid of any food particles and sugars on your teeth as quickly as possible. This may require some planning ahead – a travel-sized tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush could come in handy around this time of year. If a toothbrush and toothpaste aren’t immediately available, your best bet is to rinse your mouth out with water after eating. Have your child do the same. You can even follow up with some mouthwash for fresh breath while you’re mingling after dinner with family and friends.
What Candies and Treats Are The Best Choice For Our Teeth?
- Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities.
- Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva—which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
- Dark chocolate and its antioxidants, according to some studies, can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.
Remember, indulging in all of your familiar Holiday foods can be done without negative consequences on your teeth. With a little planning ahead your teeth can enjoy a very Happy HolidaySeason!
Children’s Dental Center believes that education is the key to preventing childhood tooth decay. We’re committed to providing a forum where parents and pediatric dental professionals can discuss preventative dental care. We encourage parents, educators and doctors to check back frequently for more fun facts, articles and activities!