Let’s face it, the holiday season tempts us all with an abundance of sweet, sugary and savory food and drink. From cookies, candy canes, fruit cakes and cranberry sauces to eggnog and hot chocolate, it’s the perfect time of the year to indulge. However, the reality of consuming so much sugar isn’t sweet news for your teeth and gums, as these treats can result in negative consequences on your family’s oral health.
After consuming excess sweets, bacterial plaque converts sugars and carbs into acidic waste on teeth. Over time, the acid erodes tooth structure and cavities can form, depending on the severity of the remaining sugars not properly cleaned off.
Gummy and sticky treats are the biggest culprits in cavity formation and tooth decay since they get stuck in small groves and spaces and are generally more difficult to brush off. Hard candies on the other hand can result in accidental tooth chipping, cracking and dislodged fillings.
Don’t fret if your holiday treats suddenly seem bittersweet. There are steps you and your family can take to keep your oral health in pristine condition and prevent these issues from arising.
- Limit the amount of sugar you consume during the holidays. If you have a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is recommended since it has a lower acidity content and is a rich source of flavonoids and polyphenols.
- Try to remember quantity and frequency. The less often you eat sugary sweets, the less chance you have to develop dental decay. If you do indulge, it’s okay, so long as you don’t make a frequent habit of it. Rewarding yourself once a week will have your mouth (and waistline) to thank you for it.
- Chew on sugar free gum after meals when brushing is not possible. This will help stimulate saliva production which naturally helps fight tooth decay. Gum with Xylitol has also been shown to help fight decay causing bacteria
- Always floss once a day and properly brush with a fluoridated tooth paste at least twice a day. Making a routine of proper dental cleaning will result in a reduced chance of cavities and dental decay. Follow these steps when flossing and brushing:
- Floss between every tooth in a C formation, gently going up and down a few times to remove plaque lodged between teeth.
- When brushing, have your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gums
- Brush in small circles with short strokes, applying gentle pressure.
- Use a total care mouthwash after flossing and brushing to add an extra punch to your routine.
- Be sure to schedule regular visits with Go Dental as Dr. Hanna and his amazing staff are always happy to ensure your mouth is healthy and pristine.
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