Christmas time is here! And with it comes a plethora of baked goods, candies, cakes and pies.
The cold weather inspires hot cocoa, apple cider, coffee and tea. Your holiday parties may overflow with wine, eggnog, and ornamentinis.
If you are lucky enough to enjoy some vacation time during the holidays, you may find it easy to shirk your daily routines.
We have made a list of things that are naughty and nice for your teeth to help you have a Christmas you won’t regret at your next dental visit.
The important things to consider are sugar content and the length of time the food will contact your teeth. Obviously, a high sugar content is bad and increases your risk for cavities. Sticky foods like gummy bears and caramels keep that sugar in contact with enamel for a long period of time, making them more likely to cause cavities.
- Hard candies
- Candy canes
- Sticky candies with caramel
- Gummy candies
- Christmas cookies
- Dried fruit and fruitcake
The important things to consider with a drink are sugar content, pH, and the length of time you spend drinking it. An acidic drink will lower the pH in your mouth, making it easier for the bacteria to cause cavities. The longer you spend drinking a beverage that is acidic or has a high sugar content, the more likely it is to cause tooth decay.
Hot drinks can also cause microscopic enamel cracks if they are drunk soon after eating or drinking something cold. The drastic temperature change is very bad for teeth.
- Anything bubbly (sodas, sparkling water, champagne) – acidic pH, some have high sugar content
- Wine – acidic pH
- Hot cocoa – high sugar content
- Hot apple cider – very acidic
- Coffee & tea – acidic
The change in schedules can make it too easy to get out of our normal hygiene routines. Staying in your PJ’s until noon makes it less likely that you will brush your teeth after breakfast, whereas most people remember to brush before heading out to work or school.
- Skipping your morning routine in favor of a long, snacky breakfast in your PJ’s.
- Falling asleep in front of the fire, then stumbling into bed without:
- Wearing your nightguard or retainers
- “Grazing” or snacking throughout the day as opposed to three solid meals
You could make your own list of nice foods with the process of elimination of anything on the naughty list. Limiting your food intake to meals will help decrease your cavity risk also. Here are things that are especially good for your teeth.
- Leafy green vegetables
- Yogurt – with no added sugar, of course
With beverages, it is best not to sip slowly on anything but water. The danger with drinks comes from the length of time you expose your teeth to the sugar and/or acid they contain. So partake of your special drinks with a meal or drink them quickly.
Not surprisingly, we want you to keep a consistent oral hygiene routine over the holidays. Getting out of the habit over your Christmas vacation only makes it harder to return to the habit when you go back to work and school.
- Mouthwash and brushing every morning after breakfast
- Three solid meals – limit snacking in between meals
- Drink only water between meals
- Mouthwash, brushing and flossing every night before bedtime
- Wear your prescribed nightguard or retainers consistently
If Santa was your dentist, which list would you be on? Naughty or nice?
From our Prosper Family Dentistry family to yours, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy (and healthy) New Year!