Christmas can be statistically cited as the number one occasion for buying candies and sweets, so it’s not a big leap to conclude that the Christmas season is an important time for dentists. Here at Greenspoint we want you to enjoy the holidays and all the related festivities, while keeping your smile healthy and your teeth clean! To ensure that your teeth are in tip-top shape into the New Year, keep in mind these tips:
You might think that sugary snacks are a delightful treat, but so do the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for tooth decay. When you eat sugary foods these cavity-causing bacteria produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth. By picking sweets that are sugar-free, you can enjoy the taste of the holiday candies without the uninvited hungry bacteria and corrosive acids. You can go a step further by searching for candies that contain xylitol, which helps reduce the buildup of plaque. It is a sweetener rather than an artifical sugar, which makes it better than sugar substitutes like Splenda and Stevia.
Blow sugar-free bubbles post-meal
The benefits of sugar-free candy extend beyond the fact that they don’t contain sugar. Sugar-free gums and candies also help produce extra saliva that can wash away bacteria and plaque. When you chew on a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal, you also can remove trapped food material. If you chew gum for about 20 minutes after a meal you should be able to reap these benefits. Look for gums labeled with the ADA seal, which means the gum has non-cavity causing sweeteners.
Switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease don’t just affect your body. Studies have shown an association between these diseases and dental health, too. That’s why if you are a chocoholic, it’s best to opt for dark chocolate because it’s packed with flavonoids, or compounds that protect your heart. Milk chocolate and white chocolate just don’t offer you the same protective benefits. When stocking up on holiday bars to pass out to family or friends (or save for yourself) look for ones that contain over 60% cocoa. Otherwise, you won’t reap the heart-protective benefits and you will add a lot of calories and fat to your diet.
Put sticky sweets on your naughty list
Gummy bears and taffy may be tasty treats and easy to fit into a stocking, but these sticky candies can do more harm than good. This goes not only for chewy candies, but also dried fruits such as cranberries, which are a common holiday staple. Not only do chewy candies and dried fruits make for a harder eating experience that works your jaw and teeth, but those particles tend to linger longer on your teeth, increasing the cavity risk. For a child with braces, chewy candies can mean a trip to the dentist.
If you have any other questions or want additional holiday and Christmas tips call our office. We want to make sure your holidays are stress-free, and ensuring that your teeth are healthy is the first step.