The month of December is full of seasonal goodies to accompany our holiday celebrations. Sweets like Christmas cookies and candy canes washed down with egg nog or hot chocolate are just some examples of festive treats, but unfortunately, the sugar content can create a breeding ground for decay-causing bacteria. In our last blog, we discussed different ways you can stay on track with good dental habits throughout this busy holiday season, so in this blog, we are going to dig a little deeper into the top holiday treats to avoid, as well as dental-safe substitutes.
Holiday Treats to Avoid
If you read our blog about the best and worst Halloween candy, you probably already know that sticky candies can wreak havoc on our teeth. Candy canes are part of this category and can harm your teeth in more ways than one. When you crunch down on candy canes, it’s very easy to get them stuck in your teeth, and once stuck, can be very difficult to remove. Even if you suck on candy canes instead of biting down, you are still dissolving the sugar into your saliva that results in bathing your teeth in a sugary pool.
If you’re craving the seasonal taste of peppermint, opt for sugar-free syrups to add the taste to your coffee, or create sugar-free peppermint patties. If you need to warm up after a day spent in the cold, peppermint tea is a great way to warm up and hydrate all while enjoying a seasonal flavor.
Decorating Christmas cookies is a classic tradition in many homes. At Ashley Dental, we want you to be able to enjoy the holidays, but we also don’t want you to start the new year with a new batch of cavities. If sugar cookies are part of your family’s tradition, enjoy one, but save the rest for Santa Claus.
For a more dental-friendly option, choose gingerbread cookies instead of sugar cookies! Gingerbread tends to have a lower sugar content than other types of cookies while still containing a classic holiday flavor. Take your cookie decorating tradition to the next level by crafting gingerbread houses instead of decorating sugar cookies.
Popcorn is a problematic snack because the kernels can easily get stuck in between the teeth and cause plaque build-up. Caramel popcorn elevates the damaging effects of regular popcorn because it adds another layer of sticky sweetness to create even more decay-causing bacteria. Unless you can commit to a thorough brushing and floss routine post-snacking, it’s a good idea to avoid caramel popcorn all together.
If you’re craving a crunchy snack to go along with your holiday movies, reach for peanuts or almonds instead of the popcorn tin. These alternatives are full of calcium and protein and are less likely to get stuck in your teeth.
Despite being a holiday favorite, eggnog combines sugar and alcohol in one beverage that can cause some serious damage to your teeth if consumed excessively. To help combat decay, make sure you’re drinking water to wash away excess plaque, and eating cheese to help strengthen and protect your teeth. If you’re looking for a warm beverage that won’t affect the health of your teeth, choose a milk-based beverage or some hot tea.
Maintaining good health is all about making smart choices along the way. At Ashley Dental we want you to enjoy all the aspects of your holiday season, but we also want you to be informed about what you’re putting into your body, and the effect it may have on your teeth. If you have any questions about what may be harmful to your smile, reach out to us today! We are more than happy to help guide you through good dental care practices.