The holidays are filled with sweet treats and savory meals, and it can be very tempting to overindulge. But before you get carried away during the festivities, remember that a lot of holiday foods are less than ideal for your teeth and gums. If you don’t want to have to make an emergency trip to the dentist after the holidays, then you need to be mindful of what you’re eating. Below are 5 holiday foods that you should be especially careful around.
1. Candy Canes
Candy canes can be devastating for your oral health if you don’t enjoy them in moderation. For one thing, they’re very hard, so trying to chew on them could lead to chipped or cracked teeth. For another, since they stay in your mouth for a long time, oral bacteria have plenty of opportunities to feed on the sugar they contain. The bacteria will convert the sugar into an acid that can wear away your enamel, thus putting you at a much higher risk for cavities.
2. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce might seem like a healthier option compared to all the sweets that are served around the holidays, but unfortunately, it can do more harm to your smile than you might think. Not only is it high in sugar, but it’s also acidic; as such, it can easily end up damaging your enamel. On top of that, many kinds of cranberry sauce contain artificial products and corn syrup that can leave you with bad breath.
There are plenty of holiday foods that just don’t seem complete without a little bit of gravy on top of them. However, gravy often contains sugar, and its sticky texture causes it to cling to the teeth. Consequently, it could easily lead to tooth decay if you’re not careful. You should brush your teeth immediately after enjoying gravy so that it doesn’t stay on your enamel any longer than necessary.
It may be surprising to learn that stuffing is considered bad for your oral health. It largely has to do with the fact that many stuffing recipes include starch-filled bread. When in the mouth, starch is broken down into sugars that can feed harmful oral bacteria, meaning it can easily contribute to tooth decay.
5. Milk Chocolate
Plenty of people find themselves eating more chocolate than usual around the holidays. The more chocolate you eat, the more likely it is that the sugar it contains will lead to cavities and gum disease. Milk chocolate tends to be more dangerous for your smile due to its higher sugar content; dark chocolate is often a better choice if you’re concerned about your teeth and gums.
About the Author
Dr. Anita Naik Madhav was originally born in Zambia. In 1988, she left for Oklahoma to pursue her dental education. She graduated from the Oklahoma University College of Dentistry, and afterward, she was accepted into the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program. Today at Preston Bend Dental, she keeps Plano patients smiling with comprehensive, state-of-the-art dental care. If you have concerns about your oral health around the holiday season, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Madhav by visiting her website or calling (972) 618-1111.