Have you ever sung the song “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”? Your dentist might want you to change the title to something like”All I Want for Christmas Is Healthy Teeth.” But with so many unhealthy foods so readily available during the holiday season, it’s easy to forget about your dental health. Here are some of the most dangerous foods you might come across during the holidays:
1. Alcohol You’ll likely have many opportunities to sip alcoholic drinks at parties and gatherings. Some people forget that drinks, just like food,can have a negative impact on your teeth. Alcohol is particularly unwelcome because it can leave stains on your teeth. Plus, many alcoholic drinks contain sugar, which feeds the bacteria in your mouth. When the bacteria eat the sugar, they produce acid,and that acid breaks down your teeth and causes cavities.
2. Candy Canes Candy canes taste delicious, but area bad choice for teeth. It usually takes a while to finish your candy cane. While you’re sucking on it, you expose your teeth to the high sugar content. The sticky sugars from candy canes can also attach to your teeth and stay there for a long time. The longer the sugar stays on your teeth, the more time bacteria have to cause tooth decay.
3. Oranges While oranges contain many vitamins and nutrients, they may pose a danger to your teeth. These fruits contain high levels of citric acid,and that acid can cause your tooth enamel to break down. Your enamel protects your teeth, so when it wears down, your teeth are more likely to decay. Enamel erosion can also cause chips,cracks,and discoloration in your teeth. It can even cause your teeth to become more sensitive to temperature changes. Eating an orange shouldn’t do much damage, but avoid excessive acidic fruit and juices. Grapefruit and lemon juice is even more acidic than orange juice, so consume these products in moderation during the holidays.
4. Eggnog Many people look forward to the day eggnog becomes available in stores. However, you might not realize that eggnog has a lot of sugar. In fact, one cup of eggnog has 20 grams of sugar. When you do drink eggnog, try rinsing out your mouth with water afterwards. This step can wash away the sugar so it doesn’t stay on your teeth and feed bacteria.
5. Mashed Potatoes Potatoes are high in starch. Like sugar, starch sticks to teeth. Pieces of mashed potatoes can cling to your teeth and invite bacteria to stay. Again, while it’s not bad to eat this side dish occasionally, you’ll want to avoid eating too many helpings at your next holiday meal.
6. Sparkling Cider You’re probably planning to break out the sparkling cider on New Year’s Eve. But don’t drink too much-like other drinks, sparkling cider is high in sugar. Eight fluid ounces of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider has 31 grams of sugar.
7. Popcorn Are you ready to watch your favorite Christmas movie with a big bowl of popcorn?Just be careful about how much you eat. Popcorn kernels can get stuck in your teeth and stay there for hours or days, giving bacteria a constant fuel source. If you eat a big bowl of popcorn, make sure to brush and floss your teeth afterwards.
Foods to Eat You don’t have to completely avoid all the foods we mentioned. But the holiday season shouldn’t give you an excuse to eat a constant diet of these foods. Instead, make sure to munch on these dental-friendly foods and drinks:
When you do eat a sugary treat, brush and floss afterwards to prevent sugar from sticking around. And don’t forget to see your dentist after the holiday season for a thorough cleaning.