November 4, 2021
Santa wants milk and cookies. Well, his teeth would approve at least one of those choices. The children of the world need to replace one of the cookies with a second glass of milk this year.
As you know, there are a lot of delicious foods and beverages throughout the holidays, but they aren’t without potential trouble for your teeth. Here’s a look from your dentist in Edison at some holiday foods that can be hard on your teeth without proper oral care.
Cookies and Other Sugary Baked Goods
It’s not exactly breaking news that sugar cookies and similar items are not great for your teeth. Items like this will be constantly available at holiday gatherings for many families. If you decide to indulge in a cookie or two, following up with a bathroom trip for brushing is a smooth move.
Whether it’s in fruitcake, a Christmas cookie, or another item, dried fruit sticks to the surfaces of your teeth similar to what gummy candy does. Sticky, sweet items are problematic because they keep the sugar on your teeth for a long time unless you do something about it. Sugar feeds the oral bacteria that cause tooth decay. Even with sugars of their own, fresh fruits are definitely better for your oral health.
Eggnog has its fans and detractors, but those who enjoy it should be mindful of its high sugar content. The brandy, bourbon, or rum it is often mixed with have sugars of their own, but at least where your teeth are concerned the eggnog is the primary concern. Another relaxing drink that puts less stress on your enamel is a sugar-free gin and tonic.
We’re all adults here – candy canes are sticks of sugar with a convenient handle for transport. Keeping sugar off your teeth is a point we’ve hammered home sufficiently, but this item and other hard candy pose a different danger, as well. Be careful with hard candy and avoid biting into it to eliminate any chance of chipping your teeth.
Also known as dressing, stuffing is not unlike eggnog in that many people have strong feelings about it one way or the other. Whether it’s delicious or too dry, all stuffing is a problem for your teeth. This starchy food is packed with carbohydrates. When eaten, just like sugar it promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria which feed on the sugars that starches are broken down into. The bacteria secrete acid as they metabolize the sugars, and your enamel bears the brunt of that process.
Certainly, there are many more holiday meal items, snacks, and beverages that pose challenges for your teeth. In general, swishing your mouth with water is helping when consuming them and obviously brushing and flossing after you are done is a fantastic idea. When the holiday dining is over, visiting your dentist for a checkup is so smart that Santa would surely approve.
About the Author
Dr. Hiren Shah earned his dental doctorate from New York University. He’s a member of the American Dental Association. He became a dentist because he wanted a career path that would allow him to do something different every day. Married with two children, Dr. Shah understands the challenges of trying to make smart food choices during the holidays. He is on board with the idea of you trying to make time for brushing after eating sugary and starchy foods. After the holidays, he welcomes you for a dental cleaning and exam. You can schedule an appointment by visiting his website or calling (908) 834-8448.
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