While holiday traditions and rituals come in all shapes and sizes, it isn’t often that you find someone who doesn’t enjoy some festive holiday treats. Although it’s common knowledge that sugary foods aren’t the best for our teeth (or our overall health), some treats will do more damage than others.
But what are the worst holiday treats for your teeth? Here are a few that you should probably steer clear of or limit this season.
They’re about as ubiquitous as it gets—there’s hardly a treat that’s more festive than a candy cane. Unfortunately, however, why they’re great to get you in the holiday spirit, these sugary treats aren’t nearly as great for your dental health.
Candy canes are one of the most widely used symbols of Christmas, but they’re also one of the worst for your teeth. Sugar is terrible for your teeth, and that’s exactly what a candy cane is: 100% sugar. The fact that they’re also hard candy only makes things worse. It increases the likelihood of damaging your teeth as you’re enjoying this holiday treat.
On the bright side, if you’re experiencing a peppermint craving this holiday season, there are better options. For instance, what about a peppermint patty? You can even add peppermint syrup to your morning coffee—there are a lot of options. However, if you opt for a candy cane or two, remember not to bite right into it!
It’s pretty typical for candied nuts to make an appearance or two as Christmas draws nearer. Unfortunately, they can do some serious damage to your teeth. When you bite into a candied nut, there could even be a cracked tooth in your future.
If you have previously had dental work done, candied nuts could be an especially risky holiday treat. For example, you could break older fillings or do further damage to areas that your dentist was already concerned about.
Brittle or Toffee
Maybe you’re a fan of preparing your very own homemade toffee during the holidays. Or, maybe this is your favorite time of the year to enjoy some fresh peanut brittle. Well, in either of these cases, you could be putting your teeth in jeopardy.
Whether it’s toffee or brittle that you prefer, these holiday treats are both sticky and hard—and that’s about as bad as it gets when you’re figuring out what’s the worst for your teeth. Having these sugary treats stuck to your teeth and sitting in your mouth for hours can cause cavities. Biting down on the brittle can result in a cracked tooth or another kind of damage (like broken dental work). The sticky toffee can even pull out fillings!
Hot Chocolate, Cider, and Other Sugary Liquids
Although hard candy is a bad decision if you’re looking to protect your teeth, what about the opposite end of the consistency spectrum: Festive beverages? Sadly, sugary drinks pose some pretty significant risks of their own.
Unlike solid food, liquids can reach far more surface area within your mouth. So, for example, when you take a sip of hot chocolate, the liquid will flow over your teeth, including in between your teeth and even into the various pits and grooves.
If you’re hoping to sip on some cider or hot chocolate as your holiday treat of choice, remember to use moderation. The more of these liquids you consume, the more you’re risking the health of your dental enamel. If possible, consider using a straw to help the drink bypass more of your teeth. Or, after you’ve finished your sugary drink, rinse out your mouth with water.
Also, keep in mind that artificially sweetened drinks aren’t risk-free, either. Although you don’t have to worry about the sugar damaging your teeth, artificially sweetened or diet drinks could result in an acidic byproduct being created in your mouth. And they are just not a healthy choice to begin with.
Pay Mid Cities Dental a Holiday Visit
To sum it all up, stay away from sugar-filled treats and drinks. If you're going to have some anyway, remember everything in moderation. Also, brush and floss afterward. If that isn't possible, at least rinse your mouth with water to help wash as much of the surgery substances away as you can.
If you’re due for a dental checkup or need dental work done this holiday season,
you can schedule an appointment through our website
or give our office a call at 817-803-8757.