Main image courtesy of Eat This, Not That.
As the holidays are quickly approaching, it’s that time of year to look forward to seeing friends and family, enjoying the exchange of presents, and to indulge in some delicious sweets. Many people look forward to the wide variety of Christmas cookies, candy, and sweet beverages that make their appearance around the holiday season. Although it’s fun to enjoy these sweet items in moderation, it’s important to keep in mind what that amount of sugar can do to your oral health.
That’s why we thought it would be helpful to list our favorite tips to protect your teeth from holiday sweets this year. Enjoy the holiday treats, but make sure you’re looking after the health of your teeth as well!
Tips to Protect Your Teeth from Sweet Holiday Treats
Keep these tips in mind when you’re enjoy the holiday parties and festivities
Christmas cookies are delicious, but keep the snacking to a minimum! Image courtesy of All Women’s Talk.
While it’s fun to enjoy all the seasonal treats that make their appearances around the holiday, we have to acknowledge that they are not so nice for your teeth. Typically cookies, candy, chocolate, and sweet cocktails have very high sugar contents, which can potentially do damage to your teeth. Knowing what you can do to prevent any potential dental damage can be incredibly helpful, as sweet treats seem to be everywhere this time of year. These are our top five tips to protect your teeth this holiday season.
Keep the sweet snacking to a minimum
The famous saying “everything in moderation” can be really helpful to keep in mind when you’re presented with an abundance of sweet treats. Just because you may see treats pop up more in the office or at holiday parties, doesn’t mean you have to try them all! It’s a good idea to just try a little, or choose one or two of your favorite types of cookies or candy and let that be it.
We also recommend consuming sweets once, and not grazing on them throughout the day. If you’re constantly introducing more sugar into your mouth, that’s more chances that plaque can build up. Give the snacking a break when it comes to sweets and try to limit how many you have.
Brush or wash your mouth out after snacking
While it’s important to make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing, you may find that when you’re consuming more sweets, it’s helpful to brush or wash your mouth out more. If you know you’re going to be having some sweet cookies or cocktails, consider bringing along a toothbrush or mouthwash to rinse your mouth out afterwards. By cleaning your mouth after you eat those sugary sweets, you’re removing the sugar from your teeth.
However, don’t rush this process and make sure you’re done consuming sweets before you wash your mouth out. You don’t want to excuse yourself to wash your mouth out multiple times at a party!
Choose which sweets you consume
While some of us just love the peanut butter brittle, toffee, and caramel treats, sometimes these can do damage to our teeth. Candies that are sticky or brittle can create interference with your dental work, or worse, can possibly cause a tooth to chip. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday, consider trying softer cookies and candy, such as peanut butter cups, chocolate chip cookies, or cherry cordials.
Try sipping from a straw
We all love the festive cocktails that come out during the holiday season, such as egg nog, mulled wine, and spiced hot chocolate. However, it’s important to remember that beverages can contain just as much sugar as cookies and candy. If you’d like to try some of these beverages this year, consider drinking them through a straw. With this simple change, you can minimize the amount of sugary drink that actually comes in contact with your teeth.
Plus, they make all kinds of festive reusable holiday straws that are easy to bring with you while you’re visiting friends and family!
Bring your own festive straw to your next holiday party. Image courtesy of Atlanta Magazine.
Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing on sugar-free gum during the day is also a great way to not only avoid additional sweets, but to increase the natural flow of saliva in your mouth. Saliva works to clean your teeth of the bacteria and plaque that can cause harm to your teeth, and chewing gum can help flush these substances out before they have time to give you an issue.
Our Favorite Teeth-Friendly Treats
Try opting for these treats this holiday season
While you don’t have to completely avoid your favorite sweet treats this holiday season, consider eating them in moderation, and ensuring you brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out afterwards. Doing that along with our other tips should keep your mouth happy and healthy. We have a few treat options that can satisfy your sweet tooth, but are less harmful to your oral health.
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has a wonderful, deep taste that milk chocolate just can’t seem to match. It has less sugar and more antioxidants than milk chocolate, and may even help you fight cavities.
- Peppermint tea. Although hot chocolate is nice once in a while, consider going with peppermint tea this holiday season. Mint is always a wonderful holiday flavor, and cozying up with a warm mug of sugarless (or lightly sweetened) tea is just the thing to get you in that holiday spirit.
- Cheese. Whether it’s served as an appetizer or dessert, cheese is a great alternative to cookies or candy. Cheese is naturally high in calcium and protein, which will work to keep you fuller longer. There are all kinds of cheeses available for all different tastes, so consider making a board of some of your favorites!
- Gingerbread. Gingerbread cookies typically contain less sugar than other traditional holiday cookies, plus when you make your own, you can choose the recipe and the amount of sugar that goes into them.
We hope you enjoy the sweet treats this holiday season, and keep these tips to protect your teeth in mind! When you’re ready for a dental check up after the holidays, contact Dr. Elizabeth Wakim.