After a long year of social distancing, the holidays are a little more special this time around. As you gather with friends and loved ones, you’ll be surrounded by delicious seasonal dishes, sweet treats, and many other holiday favorites. Although you expect to put on a few extra pounds, you probably aren’t prepared for the season to wreak havoc on your dental health. If you’re not careful, some holiday foods can come back to haunt your smile. Here are 4 foods you may want to skip.
No holiday table is complete without stuffing. Whether inside of a turkey or on the side, it can seem like a harmless treat because it only consists of herbs and bread. Unfortunately, bread contains starches. When your saliva combines with them, they are converted to cavity-causing sugars, which can erode your enamel. You can keep tooth decay at bay by choosing some fresh vegetables instead.
2. Egg Nog
Egg nog is an acquired taste, but many people love sipping it by the fireplace or along with cookies. If you look forward to the sweet drink, choose sugar-free options. It’s also best to choose a nonalcoholic variety. When alcohol is combined with sugars, it creates a recipe for disaster for your enamel.
3. Candy Canes
Candy canes come in countless flavors, making them tasty treats. However, they require you to hold them in your mouth for a long time. Your teeth will be bathed in sugar until you’re finished. Chewing them won’t lessen the risk of damaging your teeth. Biting hard candy, including candy canes, can cause chips and fractures. The last place you want to spend the holidays is at an emergency dentist. If you can’t ignore your sweet tooth, reach for a piece of chocolate. It’s softer and easier to remove from your teeth.
4. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries provide exceptional benefits for your oral and general health, but not if they come in a can. Canned cranberry sauces often contain added sugars and preservatives, which can wear away your enamel. It’s best to eat fresh cranberries to reap their health benefits.
Enjoy a Healthy Smile for the Holidays
Besides watching what you eat, don’t forget about your oral hygiene routine. Although the American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice a day, you’ll want to brush after every meal if you’re doing more snacking. Clean all surfaces of your teeth for at least 2 minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Although you might be busier during the holidays, don’t forget to floss every night. Carry floss in your pocket to make it easier to keep your gums healthy, even while on the go. You’ll ensure you enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your smile.
About Dr. Greg Riley
Dr. Riley earned his dental degree at the Temple University School of Dentistry before continuing his education in advanced studies, like cosmetic dentistry. With over 20 years of experience at Juno Beach Smiles, he has the qualifications and reputation you can trust. If it’s time for your next preventive appointment, contact our office today.