Fall is just around the corner, and with it comes Halloween, corn mazes, Thanksgiving, and lots of cool, crisp fun and delicious things to eat and drink – which unfortunately means that there are extra ways to cause harm to your teeth. Understanding what foods can cause harm to your teeth and why is your first defense in keeping your dental health secure and avoiding excessive dental services aside from general teeth cleaning.
Why Are Holiday Foods Bad for Your Teeth?
It’s not that the foods that you eat from September through December are inherently bad for your teeth, it’s the amount and the frequency. With all of the fun activities, parties, and seasonal foods, it’s more likely for your teeth to come into contact with foods that can cause tooth decay.
The more often and the larger amount that your teeth come into contact with these foods, coupled with less-than-diligent oral hygiene, means that during the holidays your teeth are more exposed to sugars, starches, and trapped food particles. Even if you’re excellent at keeping your teeth clean and protected, it’s still possible to be affected during this time of prolonged exposure. Knowing which foods are particularly terrible and limiting them from your diet can help keep your teeth healthy.
Candy, Soda, and Sugar-Coated Anything
We’ve discussed before that the leading cause of plaque – the sticky white stuff that causes tooth decay and other dental issues – is created when old food particles aren’t brushed away. These are most readily and easily caused by sugar and sugary foods. Sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth and the extra exposure to sugar from eggnog, Halloween candy, apple cider, and other sugary foods exposes your mouth to tooth-devouring bacteria. This includes eggnog and other alcoholic beverages.
Popcorn – Caramel or Other
While popcorn can be a low-calorie alternative to fattening treats around the holidays, it can create more problems dentally. Even if you go for non-candy or caramel coated popcorn, kernels can get trapped in your gums and lead to more bacteria building up. Staying away from the sugary varieties will help limit your exposure to sugar, but be careful of kernels becoming lodged in your gums.
Stuffing, Bread, and Other Starches
Bread pastries, stuffing, dressing, and other sides or dishes that are high in complex carbohydrates are also quite harmful to your teeth. These dishes are high in starch, which will convert to sugar as it sticks to your teeth and gums. As delicious as these foods are, they will wreak havoc on your oral health as the sugar that they turn into will become acids that erode your teeth.
Protecting Your Teeth During the Holidays
Just because these foods can be damaging to your teeth doesn’t mean that you have to stay away from them completely. As in most things in life, moderation is key – you don’t have to abstain from your favorite holiday foods, but don’t overindulge either. Remember to regularly brush and floss to get rid of any particles that might have been left behind. An easy way to help keep your teeth and gums healthy is to continually sip water throughout the day – it washes food particles away and keeps acid from forming.
Contact Your Fuquay-Varina Dentists Today
For more information about how to keep your teeth and gums protected during the holidays, or just to get a routine check-up and cleaning, contact Hamby Family Dental Center today. Call us at (919) 552-2431 or fill out our appointment request form.