Holiday lights, family get-togethers, and fun-filled festivities are typically the highlights of December for most people. While this jolly time of year has most people decking the halls, it isn’t quite the same fun for your smile. That’s right — your teeth can endure quite a bit of damage throughout the holidays. In fact, neglecting your smile during this time of year can spur on oral health problems that you’ll be forced to deal with for the rest of the year. Simple problems like a minor cavity can quickly progress into more serious oral health problems like gum disease, severe tooth decay, and even eventual tooth loss. The sugar-filled treats that we can typically indulge in during this time of year can be even more deadly if you’re already dealing with poor oral health and are in need of dental implants. Fortunately, there are a few different steps you can take to safeguard your oral health. One great way to keep your teeth is good shape during the holidays is to avoid specific harmful foods. Dr. Andrew Mortensen is blogging from his practice in Fountain Valley, CA to explain which foods to steer clear from this festive season.
Keep a Bright Smile During the Holidays
Want to keep everything merry and bright during the holidays? You can start by taking care of your smile! Making your oral health a priority won’t just make your smile look radiant in your holiday pictures, but it will also keep you from having oral health problems later in the year. A great way to take care of your smile is by monitoring your sugar intake while holiday treats are abundant. Here’s a quick look at the holiday treats you should avoid or enjoy in moderation this time of year.
Harmful Holiday Treats
- Candy Canes: This hard candy is a holiday staple for most people and while the red and white cane may be festive, it’s also hazardous for your smile. The high amount of sugar present in candy canes will work together with the bacteria present in your mouth to create an acidic substance. The acid will then begin to wear away at your tooth enamel, making you susceptible to tooth decay. This hard candy can also cause chips and cracks in your teeth if you tend to chew on hard candy a lot. And finally, it can also be detrimental to your oral health because most people will keep hard candy in their mouth longer, allowing their teeth to be continually exposed to the harmful effects of sugar.
- Egg Nog: As a long-lasting holiday tradition, most of us will enjoy egg nog sometime during this festive season. Although eggnog is a great way to indulge and celebrate the holiday spirit, it comes with a heavy fine for your teeth. This holiday treat is chock full of sugar along with whole milk and heavy cream. Like we mentioned before, that high amount of sugar will end up causing problems for your smile. If you’re someone who likes to add liquor to your eggnog, your teeth are in even bigger trouble. Alcohol can tend to cause dry mouth, which can severely harm your teeth because saliva is an important tooth used to protect your teeth against bacteria and acids that wear away at tooth enamel.
- Caramel Corn: Instead of indulging in the typical holiday treats, some may think that caramel corn is a slightly better option. However, caramel corn’s sticky nature can actually be even worse than your standard holiday cookies and candies. The caramel can often stick to your teeth, often the back molars, and prolong your exposure to sugar and its harmful effects.
- Holiday Cocktails and Carbonated Drinks: What better way to relax with friends and family this holiday season than with apple cider or a cocktail? Eggnog isn’t the only holiday beverage that can ruin your teeth; Cocktails, like we mentioned before, will cause your mouth to become dry, which will leave your teeth susceptible to damage from the sugar found in cocktails. Additionally, carbonated drinks like apple cider can be damaging as well because of the acidity of the beverage.
Tips to Enjoy Holiday Treats Safely
We definitely don’t expect our patients to completely give up all of these treats. After all, the holiday season only comes once a year. Here are a few ways you can still enjoy some holiday foods without ruining your smile:
- Enjoy in moderation
- Keep a strict oral hygiene routine
- Drink more water to wash away excess sugar, food debris, and bacteria
- Floss more frequently to remove sticky candy from between your teeth
Already Dealing With Oral Health Problems?
If you’re already dealing with severe oral health problems like tooth loss, don’t wait to fix the problem! The sooner you fix any missing teeth, the better for your oral health. Leaving tooth loss untreated can often result in loss of other surrounding teeth and a deteriorated jaw bone. Tackle this issue head on with dental implants and restore your teeth to a picture-perfect smile! If you’re ready to get a healthy, beautiful smile, contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Mortensen here in Fountain Valley, CA.