The holidays may be a time for sharing, giving, and spending quality time with our loved ones. But they’re also about eating! We admit that like most people, we tend to go a little overboard with all the holiday hams, pies (who can stop at one slice?), and sugary treats in stockings. It’s expected to indulge in things we don’t normally enjoy year-round. When you and yours gather this season, we invite you to remember a few drinks and foods that can damage your teeth.
Keep your smile safe and bright over the holiday! Then be sure to visit us for checkups and more afterward: 859-474-7830. Our Edgewood dental team will help keep your teeth in top shape the whole year.
In our decades of seeing patients, you would not believe how many people have damaged their teeth on hard candy. Toffee is a really hard sweet that’s popular this time of year, as are peppermints, candy canes, and those striped and colorful old-fashioned Christmas candies.
One bite into those can chip, crack, or even break a tooth. Depending on the damage, it could even be considered a dental emergency. The same applies for dental crowns or other restorations.
Don’t ruin your holiday with a damaged tooth! If you decide to eat any of these, you might want to suck on them instead. Of course, that keeps sugar on your teeth longer, so you’ll want to make sure you brush and floss.
Are any of these in your kids’ stockings or candy bowls around your house? Make sure you caution your kids, grandkids, and nieces and nephews to be careful too. Or choose another, tooth-friendlier candy altogether.
Sticky & Chewy Candy
These can be just as bad as hard candy. You might wonder why, since they can’t really break a tooth. Sticky and chewy candy like caramels stick to your teeth and in between them. Even brushing can’t get all of it off, though flossing can make cleaning your teeth more effective.
The problem with sticky foods staying on your teeth is that those sugars are food for bacteria. Bacteria then create acids that eat away at your teeth. So while you or the younger ones in your household are enjoying eating that candy, the bacteria is enjoying eating into your tooth enamel!
It may not be easy to give up these indulgences. If you don’t, remember to rinse your mouth with water afterward and brush your teeth later. It’s easy to slack a little with your oral hygiene care over the holidays – maybe you’re just too tired to brush one night – but your smile will thank you for your diligence.
We bet you’ll have some sweet tea or other beverages over your holiday dinner. If there’s ice in your glass, do your best not to chew on it. Many people have this habit – and many have stopped it after coming to Edgewood Dental Care with damaged teeth. Crush your ice or refrigerate your beverages ahead of time if it’s too much of a temptation to chew ice.
Nuts With Shells
Nuts are generally a good snack, especially heart-healthy ones like almonds. Using your teeth to deshell the nuts, however, doesn’t do anything good for your body. In fact, it’s a really easy way to break a tooth. If you don’t have a nutcracker, pass on the shelled nuts and buy some that are already out of the shells.
Sometimes shells can even make their way into a pecan pie or Derby pie – just something to keep in mind while you’re enjoying your grandmother’s recipe!
Coffee & Wine
A glass of red wine might be good for your heart and a cup of joe for your concentration. They’re enjoyed quite a bit over conversation this time of year. But they aren’t so good to your teeth. Both have sugars (added sugar, for coffee) that can lead to cavities. Wine is acidic, so it’s a double whammy for your teeth. People like to sip on both for a while, which only adds to the harm they can do to your smile. The same goes for sweet tea and sodas.
What’s more, wine and coffee are some of the worst drinks that stain teeth. We aren’t telling you to give them up, so if you continue drinking them, keep these tips in mind:
- Drink water during and/or after. Swish it in your mouth to get between teeth, too.
- Brush your teeth before you drink. Those sugars and staining substances will be less likely to stick to clean tooth surfaces.
- Brush your teeth after you drink. Wait at least 30 minutes for wine, as the acid demineralizes your teeth, and they will need a little time to remineralize again.
- Choose wines that aren’t as sweet, and cut back on the sugar you add to your coffee.
- If you don’t cut back, consider teeth whitening or dental veneers to ensure a white smile.
Enough of the tooth talk! It’s time to go enjoy your holiday, and hopefully these tips will make it a little more enjoyable. Remember, should you damage your teeth for any reason any time of year, our caring, nonjudgmental team will do our best to get your smile back to normal. Our cleanings can keep your teeth shiny and cavity-free all year, and we can speak to you more about foods that can damage your teeth and foods that can promote good oral and overall health. Just call 859-474-7830 to reach your friends at Edgewood Dental Care!