The holidays are quickly approaching, and you know what that means – lots of rich foods, mainly desserts. Many people are worried about the effect of big family meals on their waistline, but a more pressing – and often overlooked concern – is the impact of these foods on the health of your teeth.
Here are some ways to take extra care of your oral health at the start of pie season.
Skip Super Chewy Desserts
Pies are fine as long as you brush and floss your teeth afterward to prevent the sugars from eating away at your dental enamel and causing cavities. However, one thing you may want to pass on this season is ultra-chewy treats. These can not only cause damage to your natural teeth, but can be detrimental to bridges, crowns, and other dental work.
Never Use Your Teeth to Crack Whole Nuts
If whole nuts like walnuts, pecans, and almonds are a favorite treat for you during the winter, avoid the temptation to crack stubborn nuts with your teeth. Instead, always use a nutcracker.
Eat Dessert Soon After Your Meal
When you’re eating a meal, saliva production increases, which helps to break down sugars and acids in your mouth caused by food and bacteria. If you wait to eat dessert until well after dinner, your teeth won’t see the added benefit of the extra saliva. Keep dessert in mind when making your holiday plate so you don’t overfill on dinner and are tempted to wait until later for dessert.
Consider Skipping the Alcohol
Alcohol is well known to dry out the oral mucosa, or the delicate – and moist – tissues inside the mouth. When your mouth is dry, it’s easier for food particles (especially if they’re sweet and sticky) to become lodged in between your teeth where they can do the most damage. If you do choose to drink alcohol, sip water in between each drink.
Steer Clear of Hard Candy
Nearly everyone has had a handful of old-fashioned Christmas candy from their grandmother’s house. While this is a time-honored tradition, hard candy is one of the worst offenders. It has the hardness of a nut shell, which can easily result in chipped or broken teeth, and is simultaneously packed with sugar. A cavity can develop quickly when sugar is introduced right into a new break or chip.
Choose Healthier Options
Your oral health and overall health are closely intertwined, and one often will affect the other. This year, think about taking the initiative to eat healthier all around during the holidays. Fill up on fruits and vegetables and opt for lean meats like turkey breast without the dressing and gravy. Whole grains are better for your teeth – and body – than simple carbohydrates, and many naturally low-fat or fat-free foods are also a better choice.
Need a Holiday Visit? Contact Our Office Today
If the holidays have gotten the better of you and you’ve chipped a tooth trying to open a champagne bottle with your teeth or you’ve got a cavity you didn’t know about until all the sugar hit it, we can help.
Dr. Nammy Patel can provide you with holistic routine or emergency dental care in her San Francisco office, which is designed with a spa-like atmosphere for your ultimate comfort. Contact us now to book your appointment.
A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of California’s School of Dentistry, Dr. Patel is a leader in the movement to bring environmental sanity and well-being into the dental world. As a trusted dentist, Dr. Patel provides her patients with more than just world-class dental care — she helps them recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. She is also a ForbesBooks and Amazon best-selling author.