The old adage “too much of a good thing” is never more true than during the holiday season. There tends to be an overabundance of everything – especially sweet treats. While it’s impractical to suggest complete avoidance of holiday goodies, Delta Dental encourages moderation to make sure you receive the gift of great oral health!
Here are five common treats to limit during the holidays:
1. Candy Canes: The problem with any hard candy is that is hangs around in your mouth, increasing the time that your teeth get flooded with sugar. Not to mention the temptation to chomp them, which can lead to cracks or chips in your teeth. Consume them quickly and carefully to limit their negative oral health impact.
2. Cookies: It’s tempting to overindulge when there’s an abundance of baked goods lying around. But cookies are laden with sugar and can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Of course, suggesting skipping them entirely is probably impractical. Just enjoy them in moderation.
3. Holiday Drinks (like eggnog, apple cider and hot chocolate): Festive beverages offer more than warm, holiday cheer – eggnog boasts over 20 grams of sugar per cup, while hot cider can pack over 65 grams of sugar when dolled up with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
4. Caramels: Chewy, sticky treats such as grandma’s famous homemade caramels are particularly damaging because they are not only high in sugar, but they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for saliva to break down. The same rule applies to all those sparkly gumdrops on your gingerbread house.
5. Fruitcake: Even though it’s the butt of many holiday jokes, some people actually eat the fruitcake that gets passed around at the holidays. Health reasons to avoid it include the sugary cake base and the chewy, candied fruit throughout.
Sweets all have one obvious ingredient in common: sugar. Why is sugar so bad for your teeth? It mixes with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. The stickiness of that plaque keeps those harmful acids against the teeth, which contributes to tooth decay.
When you do indulge your holiday sweet tooth, it’s best to enjoy goodies as part of, or immediately following a meal, rather than snacking on treats throughout the day. Another good tip to is to stick to one small serving of your favorite drink or snack and to follow up by swishing around some water, chew sugar-free gum, or brush soon after finishing to wash away some of the sticky sugar residue