If you’re like most people, the holidays mean getting to eat certain foods without counting the calories. While you may be telling yourself that your waistline will get an update in 2020, it’s best if you don’t wait to take better care of your oral health. Tooth decay can set in quickly, which means, you might need to avoid some of your favorite holiday food items if you want to protect your smile. Before you leave for grandma’s house, take a few minutes to hear from a dentist and learn which foods are considered good and bad for your pearly whites.
Red Means Stop: Foods You Should Avoid
It’s hard to say “no” to many of these fan favorites, but knowing that tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease lurk closely around the corner when consumed might just have you declining them easier than you think.
- Candy Canes: Made of nothing but sugar, these sweet treats that signify Christmas can leave you susceptible to cavities. When the sugar sits on your teeth for too long, bacteria can easily burrow into the enamel and create holes. Should you choose to chomp down on a candy cane, you are increasing your risk for a tooth fracture or possible toothache caused by a lodged piece between your teeth.
- Ice: Chewing on ice is never a good idea, especially if you want to keep your teeth fully intact. While ice doesn’t contain sugar or any other harmful additives, it can cause fractures, breaks, and chips in your teeth, requiring time and money to be spent fixing your dental problem.
- Soda: Another sugar-filled treat is soda. No matter if it’s diet, light, or “sugar-free,” the carbonation and acidity in these drinks can break down your tooth enamel and cause your teeth to become sensitive, stained, or full of cavities.
- Chocolate: If you’re going to eat candy, chocolate is a better option than gummy, chewy treats; however, certain types of chocolate (i.e. milk chocolate) has loads of sugar in it. Opening you up to possible cavity formations, it’s better to opt for dark chocolate as it is actually much better for your teeth because of the higher cocoa content.
Green Means Go: Healthy Alternatives to Consider
If you are wondering, “Okay, but what can I eat if I can’t have any of the above-mentioned items?” You’ll be pleased to know that the following are great alternatives:
- Cheese: Want to reduce the amount of acid in your mouth? Grab for a few pieces of cheese.
- Nuts: These little delectable treats stimulate your saliva and work to keep harmful bacteria from building in your mouth. They’re also full of great nutrients that benefit your teeth and body.
- Vegetables: Eating raw vegetables can help to clean out any food particles from between your teeth. Filled with many vitamins and nutrients, they are not only delicious but nutritious.
- Sugar-Free Gum: Not only will this increase saliva production and flow, but it also satisfies your sweet tooth without the added sugar.
The holidays don’t mean having to forgo all your favorite foods and beverages. By choosing better alternatives and taking care of your oral health with proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing techniques, you’ll cruise into 2020 with a healthier, more beautiful smile.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki wants you to enjoy the holiday season. Surrounded by family and friends, it’s important that your time is spent with them and not in the dentist’s chair. With so many sweet treats filling homes this time of year, he and his team will happily provide you with tips and tricks to make sure your teeth and gums are safe from decay. As a highly-qualified and skilled dental professional, Dr. Nawrocki attended the University of Florida and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry before completing his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Earning his specialist certificate in prosthodontics and a master’s degree in dental science, he became board-certified eligible in May 2012. To learn more about Dr. Nawrocki and the services provided, contact us at (904) 272-1588.