Christmas cookies. Candy canes. Chocolate treats. Fruitcake… well, maybe not fruitcake. The holiday season brings so many tasty treats wrapped in enticing and festive little packages that make them so hard to resist!
With plenty of time to sample sweets at home, it’s important to remember moderation is key. There are ways to enjoy your treats while doing your best to protect your teeth. Just keep these few simple steps in mind:
- Timing is everything. If you’re reaching for your favorite sugary sweet, it’s best to enjoy it shortly after a meal. Saliva that is produced during mealtime reduces acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
- Sticky foods do just that, they stick in your teeth. You may be thinking of gooey snacks but dried fruits can also stay on the teeth longer than standard foods so it’s best to rinse with water and brush after this seemingly innocent treat.
- Nutcrackers exist and bottle opens exist for a reason! Avoid using your teeth as a tool this holiday season – no cracking nuts or twisting off festive bottle caps. Along with chewing on hard candies, these missteps can result in a chipped too.
- Remember how we were talking about moderation? Well, that doesn’t just pertain to food. Minimize the effect of any holiday cocktails that can dry out your mouth but drinking water as well to stay hydrated.
- Sugar comes in many forms. That’s why it’s also important to be on the lookout for starchy foods. Just like sticky foods, snacks like potato chips and pretzels can get stuck in your teeth as well. Brushing and flossing also are important in keeping these plaque-building culprits under control.
The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself. Since we’ve all been home a lot more lately, get creative. It’s fine to have a holiday treat here and there as long as you take the steps needed to keep tooth decay at bay.