What Your Mom Never Told You About Holiday Treats
Be Smart About Your Smile With These Sweet Dental Tips
“While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads” is a famous line from the beloved holiday poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. You’re probably familiar with it. However, you may not be entirely familiar with the damaging acids and havoc sugar wreaks when it dances around your gums. The harm it produces can affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards. The long-term damage when left untreated lasts a lifetime. And that’s nothing to ho, ho, ho about.
Consuming sugary foods or drinks results in naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth feeding on the sugar. This creates acids, which wear down tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to tooth decay and other problems. The dental damage done each December is dire indeed but it doesn’t have to be quite so detrimental, especially if you follow a few simple tips:
- Eat sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods along with a balanced meal instead of eating them alone. Why? It’s all in the saliva, which the body produces to help wash away more food and neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.
- After consuming high-acid foods or drinks, rinse with water first before brushing teeth. This helps prevent tooth erosion from the acids.
- Not surprisingly, sticky foods stick to teeth longer. Limit your consumption of them.
Holiday treats can be hard to avoid. And honestly, an occasional indulgence isn’t a bad thing. Just be sure to pay extra attention to brushing and flossing at this time. Keep sugar-free gum, a toothbrush and floss handy during the day. And be smart about your smile this holiday!