Expressions of love and gratitude often come in the form of something sweet, and full of sugar. While sweets and treats definitely make the season merry and bright, sugars left lingering on teeth will leave them anything but bright. But, you can enjoy the holiday mirth without letting sweet Christmas treats damage your smile. Here are some tips to consider during (and after) the holiday season.
If It’s Sticky, It Sticks
A good rule of thumb is to remember this simple statement: if it’s sticky, it sticks. When reaching for the candy bin, keep this mind. Toffees and caramels shine during the holidays but can wreak havoc on your tooth’s enamel. Since the sugars from these sticky sweets stick to your teeth, the acids from the sugars constantly breakdown your teeth’s surfaces until they are removed. Enamel that is weakened leads to cavities and tooth decay. If you must have the caramels this season, just be smart about how often you eat them, when you eat them, and making sure you brush soon after consuming them. (If a toothbrush isn’t handy, at the very least, consider swishing with water to help remove the excess sugars from your mouth.
You could also plan to carry sugarless gum with you to help remove sugars following a meal or a treat. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum can help prevent tooth decay. Sugarless gum will also keep your mouth smelling fresh and help you curb the urge to snack.
While fruit snacks and dried fruit may seem like a smarter, healthier alternative, your teeth won’t notice the difference since these snacks and sweets stick to your teeth as well. Follow the same rule-of-thumb to brush as soon as you can when eating these treats.
Skip the Soda, Reach for the Water
Sparkling beverages add some magic to the season as well. But, the carbonation and sugars from sodas and sparkling drinks can really damage your teeth. Over half of Americans will consume a soda today, according to Healthline. Like mentioned above, the sugar onslaught is real. Consuming a soda allows the sugars it contains to mingle with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. This acid attacks your teeth. And just because the bottle reads “sugar-free” doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. “Both regular and sugar-free sodas also contain their own acids, and these attack the teeth too. With each swig of soda, you’re starting a damaging reaction that lasts for about 20 minutes. If you sip all day, your teeth are under constant attack.”
But it isn’t just the sugars you have to worry about in sodas. Carbonation and sugar in your mouth lead to a unique type of dental erosion. Soft drinks can also affect the next layer of tooth structure, dentin, and, yes, even composite fillings.
Bring Your Own Veggie Platter
If you are attending an event and aren’t sure there will be teeth-healthy choices, bring your own! Crunchy vegetables do a great job of cleaning your teeth while also giving you powerful nutrients to strengthen your teeth.
“By replacing sugary treats with apples, you’re promoting good saliva production. Celery helps clean your teeth because the texture can scrape leftover food particles and bacteria away from your teeth,” says Colgate.
Vegetables also offer your whole body an immunity boost, a great thing to consider to help keep your body safe from disease.
Call Today to Schedule a Cleaning and Exam
At the conclusion of the holidays, plan on an in-office cleaning and exam to make sure your teeth are healthy and strong. A healthy smile is a great way to start the new year. Consider a whitening treatment to really enter 2021 with your best smile. You can contact any of our five Utah dental offices in West Jordan, Riverton, American Fork, Saratoga Springs or Orem to schedule a complimentary consultation. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing how you can give the gift of dental care to yourself (or another) this season.