Taking care of your oral health is important year-round, but considering the many food temptations of the holidays, it’s easy to slip up and enjoy treats this time of year. Being mindful of the top holiday foods that’ll give you cavities is important so that you can know what’s safe to indulge in and what foods are best avoided if possible.
So what are the top holiday foods to give you cavities? Here are the top five foods of the season that can ruin your smile!
Candy canes have basically one ingredient: sugar. We all know sugar is detrimental for your smile, but on top of that, candy canes typically require that you keep them in your mouth for a period of time in order to eat them, much like a lollipop. The more time your mouth is exposed to sugar, the greater the damage can be—this includes enamel erosion and cavities!
Candy canes are also crunchy and crunching down on this hard candy could chip or even fracture your teeth. This will not only lead to tooth damage on the outside, but could set you up for cavities as bacteria now have an alternate entry into your tooth!
Eggnog typically contains two ingredients that can wreak havoc on your teeth: sugar and alcohol! Sugar mixes with the natural bacteria of your mouth and turns acidic, which attacks your porous enamel and can lead to sensitive teeth and cavities. Alcohol is very corrosive on your teeth and can have a very similar effect, especially if your mouth is exposed to these ingredients for a length of time.
You can still enjoy eggnog, but sipping water afterwards is best—or you can make a healthier version of eggnog with no added sugar and very little alcohol, or eliminate the alcohol totally.
Milk chocolate tends to contain high amounts of sugar and can make your mouth prone to cavities. This is true for chocolate drinks as well such as hot chocolate with sugar and marshmallows. However, the good news is that dark chocolate can actually be good for you and your smile—the higher the cocoa content (think 60% or higher), the better! Get creative with dark chocolate treats that are low in sugar but high in antioxidants.
There are few candies that cling to teeth like caramel. It easily gets lodged in teeth, and in its hardened form, can even set teeth up for chips and fractures. Combined with popcorn, this sticky treat could give you cavities this holiday season. Enjoy caramel popcorn in moderation and always be sure to get any caramel out from between your teeth with proper brushing and flossing!
Fruitcake is sweet and sticky, two properties that can causes cavities to form on your pearly whites. The sticky fruit in fruitcake can get caught between teeth and sticks to teeth, negatively affecting enamel and promoting cavity formation. Depending on how sticky your fruitcake is, it could even cause dental crowns to come loose! Enjoy fruitcake carefully this year.
Your holiday season can still have treats in it, but be mindful of how much you’re consuming. By balancing these sweet foods with a healthy diet and proper oral health care techniques, you can have a beautiful smile all holiday season long and impress your dentist at your checkup in the New Year. Happy Holidays!