With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, people across the country are preparing to enjoy delicious meals and even more scrumptious desserts. Contrary to popular belief, you can indulge in a few holiday treats without doing damage to your teeth – as long as you know a few helpful tips, of course. According to the American Dental Association, one of the key factors in tooth decay is the amount of time food stays in your mouth. For example, a sticky candy cane is far more likely to cause plaque and decay than a piece of holiday chocolate because the hard candy tends to stay around your teeth for much longer. As that candy sits in the crevices of your teeth and gums, its sugars and acids begin to attack your teeth until it is either washed or brushed away.
For this reason, the American Dental Association suggests that people eat any sugary foods with meals. Eating increases the production of saliva and helps rinse sugary particles away more quickly. If you must consume sugary candies or foods between meals, consider chewing sugarless gum afterward. Like eating, chewing gum also increases the flow of saliva. Along the same lines, drinking fluoridated water can also help eliminate sugary residue, so it’s a good idea to increase your water intake over the holidays, as well. Finally, it may be common sense, but many people forget to brush their teeth at least twice a day. This habit is especially important during the holiday season when sweet treats are abundant and busy schedules make people forgetful. For more information and advice specific to your individual life, talk to your dental plan dentist. It is possible to enjoy the holidays – and the desserts – that you are accustomed to without sacrificing your oral health.