Holiday Event people cheering each other with champagne and wine

You don’t have to give up sugar entirely to have a healthy holiday season. However, smart snacking will keep your teeth from developing cavities, and this one tip can help make all the difference in your new year smile.

That tip is this: It’s less a matter of how much of a cavity-causing food you eat – what really matters is how long it takes you to eat it.

Smarter Holiday Snacking

To protect your teeth from cavities, the least-damaging holiday sweets are the ones that you can eat all at once. Reducing the amount of time you expose your teeth to sugar and processed treats is the secret to keeping cavities away. It is also good to keep in mind that some holiday treats are worse for your teeth than others, so snack smart while making your selection.

Before indulging in that office break room cookie tray, ask yourself: How long will this be in my mouth and on my teeth?

Avoid holiday favorites like:

  • Candy Canes
  • Sugary gum
  • Werther’s originals
  • Hard candies
  • Ice cubes
  • Carbonated beverages full of sugar
  • Eggnog

The best treats are ones that you chew and swallow right away like:

  • A slice of apple pie
  • Christmas cookies
  • Gingerbread
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables

Protecting Your Teeth With These Additional Tips

Tooth decay is the most prevalent – and preventable – disease. Preventing cavities doesn’t have to be a chore. By following these additional oral hygiene tips, you will be able to protect your smile while also indulging in your favorite holiday treats and activities.

Eat Treats During Meal Time

If it’s loaded with sugar, your best bet is to eat it with a meal instead of as a stand-alone snack. The other foods and drinks from your meal help to prevent sugar from sticking to your teeth.

Always Rinse With Water

Water is a great mouth cleaner because it washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away your enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth. Rinsing with water also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Drinking juice, soda or sports drinks, on the other hand, can leave unwanted sugar behind.

Stay Hydrated

Water is unlike any other drink, and it is by far the healthiest drink available. Our bodies are made of 60% water. Staying hydrated helps your system distribute healthy nutrients, gets rid of waste, gives your skin a healthy glow, and keeps your muscles moving. Drinking plenty of water also comes with the added bonus of keeping your teeth healthy – especially if the water is fluoridated.

Avoid an Empty Stomach

Don’t leave the house to attend a holiday party or gathering on an empty stomach. Sweet treats and other calorie-filled foods are much harder to resist when you’re hungry. Before heading to a holiday get-together, create a healthy snack to fill your stomach. Foods such as fresh vegetables, an apple, or even scrambled eggs make excellent last-minute mini-meals to help keep you full.

Maintaining a Healthy Smile

Brushing and flossing at home are essential, but to ensure teeth are healthy and thoroughly clean, you should schedule regular check-ups with your dentist and professional dental cleanings with your dental hygienist. Professional dental cleanings give your dentist an opportunity to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits. If you are moving in the wrong direction, immediate intervention can help put you back on track.

Schedule your holiday dental checkup with Dr. Baudean DDS today for a brighter, healthier holiday smile.