While it’s often dubbed the most wonderful time of the year, a sudden trip through the snow to an emergency dental appointment can quickly dampen the holiday spirits. No one wants to kick off their New Year’s Resolutions with a resolution to “Get Cavities Filled.” How can you navigate the sweetest season without compromising your enamel and fillings?
While candies and sweets are typically considered naughty, indulging in a treat or two is part of the holiday fun. However, some treats are better suited for decorations than desserts. Here’s a breakdown of those that fall into the “naughty” category:
- Candy Canes: If not savored slowly, candy canes can pose a risk of chipping or cracking teeth. However, letting them dissolve slowly in the mouth bathes teeth in sugar, fostering plaque and cavity-causing bacteria.
- Gumdrops: Colorful gumdrops, often used for decorating, consist mainly of corn syrup and sugar, creating a sugary and gummy substance that adheres between teeth and gums.
- Toffees, Caramels, Taffy: These sticky treats can adhere to enamel, fillings, crowns, and orthodontic wires, potentially causing damage or dislodgment.
- Gingerbread Houses: While a delightful holiday tradition, gingerbread houses are made of chewy gingerbread covered in hard sugar icing and sticky candies—challenging for dental health.
- Fruitcake: Candied and dried fruits in fruitcakes contribute to their high sugar content, making them less than ideal for dental health.
To enjoy desserts in a healthier way, consider the following:
- Be Choosy: Opt for desserts that are less sticky, hard, or excessively sugary, especially if you have concerns about cavities, dental work, or wear braces.
- Eat Sweets with a Meal: Consuming sweets with a meal increases saliva production, helping wash away food particles and neutralize acids that damage enamel.
- Rinse After Eating: Rinsing your mouth with water after consuming sweets aids in washing away sticky sugars and carbs, preventing acid formation.
- Brush (Maybe) and Floss: Consider brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after eating to allow enamel recovery. If you have specific concerns, consult Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz for personalized advice.
By being mindful of your holiday dessert choices, eating sweets with meals, rinsing afterward, and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you can savor the holiday season without compromising your dental health. Enjoy the festivities and ring in the New Year with a radiant and healthy smile!