While the holidays are still a bit of a ways away, many of us in the dental field are still addressing some of the oral health issues from the holiday season last year. That is because, for many reasons, people tend to not take as good care of their teeth during the holidays.
Dr. Cureton, a North Salinas Dentist, has been treating patients for years that have a variety of dental issues that can be loosely traced back to some of the foods and hygiene habits of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.
While nothing in the oral health world is the result of one particular food, it is still a good idea to have an understanding of some of the ways that your holiday diet can influence your dental health.
The Worst Culprit: Candies
In an ideal world, at least for dentists, no one would be eating any processed sugar. But, we all know that sweets are delicious, and perhaps nothing is quite as tasty as the candies that you get during the holidays.
The sugars in candies cause a host of different issues that can affect your dental health, including:
- Feeding the “Bad Bacteria” around your teeth and gums.
- Turning bacteria and food into plaque, which can lead to gum disease.
- Creates acids with the bacteria in your mouth that eat away at your enamel.
Eventually, candy can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and – if left untreated – the potential for a root canal or even an extraction.
Now, it is absolutely okay to have candy once in a while. We all deserve a treat. But make sure that you’re always brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly after, and that you’re coming to all your North Salinas Dentist appointments.
There are also specific candies that are most at fault for dental decay. All candies have sugar that can lead to dental issues, but a few are especially problematic:
- Candy Canes – Candy canes are frequently one of the worst holiday candies. That is because not only do they contain a lot of sugar – they are also typically sucked on slowly over the course of many hours, allowing them to continue to feed some of the bacteria in your mouth.
- Caramels – Caramel, and other sticky candies like toffee, can also be a big problem for your teeth. The candies can, quite literally, stick to your teeth and provide a continual release of acids that damage your enamel. Foods like peppermint bark can cause similar problems.
- Fudge – Most people enjoy some holiday chocolates. But fudge can be a bit worse. Most chocolate tends to be eaten quickly, usually after dinner or with a meal, and have a large but not significant amount of sugar. Fudge, however, is eaten as a snack, contains a lot of sugar, and is stickier than most other forms of chocolate.
All candy is going to be risky for your teeth, but those three often do the most damage.
What Can You Do About Holiday Sweets?
You deserve to still enjoy holiday sweets. Sugar free candies, fruit, and other items are a better choice, but it’s okay to have candy once in a while. If you do, however, make sure you do the following:
- Always eat it with and after a meal. There is typically more saliva in your mouth after you eat.
- Brush and floss regularly. Many people forget or skip dental hygiene during busy holidays.
- Drink water. It can wash away some of the sugars.
Finally, make sure you see your North Salinas dentist. Dr. Cureton is here to make sure that your smile is kept as healthy as possible, no matter how many holiday sweets you and your family enjoyed.