The holiday season is a time to rejoice with family, friends and comfort food. Although traditional holiday foods (and beverages) may be comforting to the soul, many produce negative effects on the teeth. From a dental standpoint, there may be a good reason to just say no to fruitcake, eggnog, popcorn and candied yams. Should you also omit the almonds and walnuts from your favorite dessert recipe?
'Tis the Season to Be Kind to Your Teeth
Use good judgment when preparing your holiday meals and treats. To keep your teeth healthy, getting more info might explain why you might want to cross these favorites off your holiday menu:
Grandma's homemade fruitcake may be tasty, but the sugary treat can wreak havoc on your teeth. The sticky, dried fruits such as raisins, dates and figs tend to adhere to the teeth and erode the enamel. Particles may become trapped between the teeth as well. Unless you brush and floss soon after eating, fruitcake is not the best holiday treat for your teeth.
While eggnog has beneficial aspects, mainly calcium for building strong teeth, the culprit is the added sugar. As you probably know, sugar contributes to cavities and tooth decay. If you must indulge, do so in moderation.
3. Caramel Popcorn and Popcorn Balls
This holiday treat may attribute to sore and irritated gums. Also, when the corn kernels become lodged between the teeth, it can be painful. If you don't floss daily, eating popcorn may cause dental issues.
The sticky coating in caramel popcorn bathes the teeth in sugar, but there's more to worry about. Although teeth are naturally resilient, this crunchy treat can actually fracture your tooth if you bite down hard.
4. Caramel Apples
For the same reason caramel popcorn should be avoided, you need to think twice before sinking your teeth into a caramel-coated apple this holiday season. The sugary caramel tends to be difficult to remove from the teeth, leading to a higher risk of tooth decay. In addition, that sticky substance tends to make the apple even crunchier and harder to chew. The pain of breaking a tooth on a caramel apple will be equally painful on your wallet, as you could require dental care.
5. Peanut Brittle
Peanut brittle is a favorite holiday treat, to give and to receive. Unfortunately, chomping down on a hard piece of peanut brittle is an invitation to dental disaster. It may be worse for the teeth than a chewy piece of fudge. Breaking a crown or chipping a tooth from chewing on peanut brittle is not difficult to do.
6. Candied Yams
Although yams are very nutritious, the candied variety contains too much sugar and gooey marshmallow to be considered healthy for your teeth. You might want to do your teeth a favor and forgo the candied yams in favor of red or white potatoes.
7. Mixed Nuts, Especially When Whole
It's probably fine to garnish your desserts with chopped walnuts and pecans, but beware of chomping down on a whole almond or large chunk of walnut. Whole nuts are very hard and you could break a tooth in the process. Also, munching on whole nuts may dislodge a dental filling.
8. Hard Cider and Red Wine
Most alcoholic beverages are not good for the teeth, due to the sugar content and acidic properties. Hard cider and wine may contribute to tooth enamel erosion. In addition, red wine tends to have a staining effect on the teeth. Over time, the stains may become difficult to remove.
As a final tip, if you choose to indulge in acidic fruits and beverages during the holidays, rinse your mouth before flossing. Rinse with warm salt water or an alcohol-free mouthwash to remove food particles and reduce the risk of tooth enamel erosion. In a pinch, rinsing with ordinary tap water may also help.