The last few months of the year can rightly be called “comfort food season.” Whether you are warming up on a cold morning with an eggnog latte, reaching for the candy jar at the office, or baking mouthwatering pies at home, there are countless opportunities to indulge in holiday foods. Unfortunately, many seasonal treats are bad for teeth. A dentist in Mankato is here to discuss some tips to help you protect your smile throughout this festive season.
There is nothing wrong with occasionally indulging in a sweet treat. However, eating sugary foods should not become part of your normal routine during the last few months of the year. Chewing on sugar-free gum and making sure you eat enough protein can help to curb your cravings and empower you to say no when you are tempted by candies, pies, and sugary drinks.
Take Your Oral Hygiene with You
If your work or other daily activities take you away from home, you may find it beneficial to bring a small oral hygiene kit with you. About 30 – 60 minutes after you consume anything with a lot of sugar, step into the restroom and quickly brush your teeth. This habit will limit the opportunity that plaque has to damage your tooth enamel.
Drink Plenty of Water
After you indulge in a sweet treat, be sure to sip on some water. The water will wash away lingering food particles and encourage saliva production. Not only does saliva help to keep your mouth clean, but it also contains essential minerals that serve to fortify your enamel and reduce the damage caused by sugars and acids.
Avoid Hard Foods to the Extent Possible
While sugar may be the foremost danger to your teeth during the last few months of the year, hard foods are a close second. Things like candied nuts, peanut brittle, and candy canes all have the potential to chip or break your teeth if you bite down on them in the wrong way. It is best to forgo such treats in favor of items that pose less of a risk to your smile.
Be Cautious with Sticky and Chewy Foods
Taffy and other sticky, chewy foods may cling to the chewing surfaces of teeth and present a heightened risk of dental decay. Also, if you have dentures, sticky foods could easily cause your prosthetic to lose its adherence to your gums. Do your best to say no to sticky foods.
You do not have to deprive yourself of treats while you are participating in seasonal festivities — but you should take some precautions to protect your smile.
About the Author
Dr. James Kalina is a general dentist in Mankato who earned his doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He enjoys forging meaningful relationships with members of the local community, and he is happy to share advice on how patients can care for their teeth. To learn more about Dr. Kalina and the services he offers, contact our team at 507-625-2021.