Taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just about regularly brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist. The decisions that we make each day regarding the foods and drinks we consume very much affect our oral hygiene. During this time of the year, you’ve likely been indulging in lots of delicious, but often not very healthy foods and drinks. Dinner parties during the holidays usually involve plenty of sweets, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. While letting yourself go once in a while shouldn’t really be a problem for your oral hygiene, if your teeth and gums are otherwise healthy, you do still want to be careful not to go overboard and make sure that in between and after those moments of indulgence you maintain a healthy, teeth-friendly diet and be extra vigilant in your oral hygiene. Let’s have a look at what you can do to keep your teeth healthy throughout and after the holidays.
Focus on Teeth – Friendly Foods
We won’t tell you that you can’t have a piece of that delicious cheesecake your mom made for the holidays, because that would just be cruel. However, you do want to be smart about what you eat and drink at any social events you are attending throughout the holidays. In general, you should avoid overconsumption of foods and drinks that are acidic and/or contain a lot of sugar.
Foods to Avoid
Be careful with the following foods and drinks if you want to make sure that your oral hygiene isn’t compromised too much during the holidays.
•Soft Drinks: Soft drinks can be extremely destructive for your teeth as well as your overall health. They have such a high level of acidity that they can erode the enamel of your teeth. This can eventually lead to serious dental health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. The high amounts of sugar in soft drinks further contribute to tooth decay because teeth-destructive mouth bacteria feed on sugar. Diet soft drinks are not safe either because these are still very acidic and thus will also contribute to enamel erosion. Drinking soft drinks using a straw will avoid contact with your teeth a bit and consequently be slightly less damaging.
•Alcohol: Many alcoholic beverages are quite acidic and some also very sugary, which contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel and can cause tooth decay. Drinks such as red wine also stain your teeth because they are high in tannins and chromogens that promote staining of your teeth. The worst alcoholic drinks you can have are mixed drinks made with soft drinks and acidic liquors, such as Malibu and Coke.
•Sweets: Cakes, candies, chocolates, and other sugary treats should be consumed only sparingly. Any foods that contain a lot of refined sugar are bad for the human body if over-consumed. Try to avoid any foods that are very sugary and tend to stick to your teeth, such as chocolates with sticky fillings, caramels, chocolate and caramel cake, etc.
When you’re having any of the aforementioned foods or drinks, make sure to drink some water afterwards to rinse away food particles.
Foods That Will Save Your Teeth
While eating the wrong foods can harm your teeth, eating some of the right ones can help keep your mouth healthy and party negate the harmful effects of teeth-unfriendly foods. Try to make the following foods a part of your diet during and after the holidays:
•Green Tea: Instead of drinking alcohol, coffee or black tea before or after your meals, have some green tea instead. This delicious, hot beverage has been linked with numerous oral health benefits such as cavity prevention, healthier gums, lower risk of tooth loss, better breath and even oral cancer prevention. Green tea contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds that help fight off bacteria in your mouth and prevent and remove dental plaque. Not only might drinking green tea help keep your teeth healthy, it’s also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and a number of other diseases.
•Water: Water is essential for the body, including your mouth. Water helps keep your mouth moist and rinses away sugar, acid and bacteria from your teeth, gums and tongue.
•Dairy Products: Consumption of dairy products has been associated with better oral health. Dairy products help keep your mouth’s PH levels steady, which may reduce the risk of developing tooth cavities. They are also a good source of calcium, which is vital for healthy teeth.
•Fibrous Foods: Fibrous foods, such as most raw vegetables are great for your teeth and stomach. Because eating these types of food involves a lot of chewing, your mouth will produce more saliva, which helps keep your mouth clean. Raw vegetables also scrub your teeth when chewing them, cleaning your pearly whites while you are eating.
•Strawberries: If your teeth got a bit stained from drinking wine or consuming other staining foods during holiday dinners, you can try to naturally whiten them using strawberries. You can mix strawberries with baking soda and gently apply this paste to your teeth using a soft toothbrush, leave it on for five minutes and then brush it off. The malic acid in strawberries will help whiten your teeth.
After Holidays Teeth Cleaning and Whitening
While abstaining from eating teeth-unfriendly foods and drinks and mainly eating ones that improve your oral health will go a long way in keeping your beautiful white smile, this might not always be enough. After the holidays, it is a good idea to see your dentist for a thorough teeth cleaning to have any plaque buildup removed and your teeth checked for developing cavities and enamel erosion. If your teeth have gotten stained during the holidays from consuming a lot of staining foods and drinks, you may want to consider having them whitened. Over-the-counter or natural teeth whitening solutions are often not as effective as professional teeth whitening performed by a dentist. Dental teeth whitening procedures are very safe and restore your beautiful white smile quickly and effectively.
If you want to schedule an appointment for a teeth cleaning, ZOOM teeth whitening or would like some more information regarding any of the dental procedures that we offer at Greenspoint Dental, please contact us today.