Protecting Your Teeth While Enjoying Holiday Treats and Drinks
With the cold weather upon us and Christmas and New Year’s approaching quickly, we tend to forget about the impact that this season has on our teeth. With all of the sugary treats and drinks of the season, our teeth are exposed to more sugar during this time of year than any other. The sugary cookies, pies, fudge, chocolates, candies and cakes can wreak havoc on your teeth. All of the following drinks are also full of sugar or teeth staining ingredients unless modifications are used: apple cider, hot chocolate, holiday mixed drinks, coffee, egg nog, mochas, lattes, wine, dark tea, soda pop and other holiday favorites. The season tends to be about getting together with friends and family and enjoying yourself, which is how it should be; however, it can be easy to forget about keeping your mouth healthy and get carried away. We have put together a list of helpful hints and tips for keeping your teeth clean and healthy this holiday season so you’re not full of regret and cavities when January rolls around.
Your Teeth vs. Holiday Treats
Limit the Sugar
Though your taste buds may be a little disappointed, your teeth will thank you for this one. Every time you indulge in a sugary treat, the sugar residue gets stuck to your teeth. There are several ways to limit the amount of sugar you consume in these treats without upsetting your taste buds.
- Limit the amount of treats that you consume every day.
- If there are a lot of treats that you want to try, just have a little bit of each one instead of 8 whole desserts (your waistline will thank you for this too).
- Use less sugar in your desserts. If you are worried about sweetness or the consistency of your dessert then use a sugar substitute such as stevia or xylitol mixed with sugar in your dessert.
- Replace the sweetener in your dessert with stevia or xylitol. Xylitol actually melts down just like sugar and liquefies when heated.
- Use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate in your desserts, there is a lot less sugar in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate.
- Share a dessert your deserts. Especially if you eat with someone who has a fast fork, this will allow you to eat less of the sugary dessert but not make you feel like you’re limiting yourself.
Delight in a Holiday Drink While Protecting Your Teeth
Limit the Sugar
There are many ways that you can limit the sugar in your favorite holiday drinks.
- Limit the amount of sugary beverages that you consume. This includes alcohol—something that we don’t usually think of as a sugary drink.
- Limit the amount of added sugar, or try and use sugar free versions of your favorite sweeteners. For example, only add half the amount of sugar to your coffee, apple cider, egg nog, tea, etc. or try the sugar free creamers.
- Use real dark chocolate for your hot chocolate or mocha, there is a lot less sugar in dark or extra dark chocolate than in milk chocolate.
- Use a sugar-free syrup in your mocha, hot chocolate, lattes and coffee and limit the whipped cream.
- Use xylitol (a healthy sugar substitute) to sweeten your coffee, tea, apple cider, mochas, egg nog and lattes
Use a Straw
Using a straw can prevent the sugar in your drink from getting stuck to your teeth. It can also prevent the discoloration of your teeth from dark colored sodas, dark colored teas and black coffee. Straws can also help you drink slower, allowing you to enjoy your drink longer.
Preserve Your Smile While Enjoying Holiday Treats and Drinks
Brush Your Teeth
One of the most routine tips is also one of the easiest ways to protect your teeth. It is important to brush your teeth after you have a sugary drink or dessert in order to wash away the sugar that gets stuck to your teeth. Brushing your teeth is an obvious choice to keeping the sugar out of your teeth. Choose a tooth paste that cleans, protects and whitens your teeth along with a soft bristle tooth brush. Brushing and flossing your teeth frequently throughout the holidays will help to keep your teeth protected, clean and white.
Drink More Water
Drinking a glass of water after consuming a sugary dessert or drinking a sugary beverage will help to wash away some of the sugar that is stuck to your teeth. If you are going to drink a lot of sugary beverages it is best to have a glass of water between each drink to prevent sugar from building up on your teeth. Try to have a sip of water between bites of sugary desserts to wash away the sugar and prevent it from building up on your teeth. Drinking water between sugary beverages will help to clean your teeth and prevent decay from sugar.
Choose a Holiday Treat OR a Holiday Drink
If possible, choose to either have a sugary beverage or a sugary dessert, not both at the same time. It is important to limit the amount of sugar that you are exposing your teeth to on a daily basis. If you are at a party with holiday drinks and treats start with a holiday drink and a low sugar snack, for instance have something from the relish tray or cheese and cracker platter. Then switch to a glass of water with a cookie or slice of pie. Another option is to modify your holiday drink by making it low sugar or to modify your dessert by using a sugar substitute. Either way, the principle of balance is important in limiting sugar exposure on your teeth.
Dental Care after the Holidays
Get Your Teeth Cleaned
Right after the holidays is a great time to come into one of our five convenient locations and have your teeth cleaned. A teeth cleaning will not only make your teeth feel great, but will also remove all of the plaque buildup and the help to fix your color that your teeth have acquired throughout the holiday season.
Get a Whitening Treatment
Once the holidays are over and you’re on to focusing on your New Year’s Resolutions, getting your teeth whitened is a great start to a healthy mouth. Get your pearly whites back with our $99 Lifetime Whitening program. Our Lifetime Whitening program is offered to our clients that take their dental health seriously and strive to keep their oral health a priority. When you keep up with your preventative health check-ups every six months, keep your invoices up to date and provide 48 hours’ notice for appointment cancellations, you are eligible for our lifetime whitening program. Every six months we will provide you with custom whitening trays and whitening touch up gel to keep your smile bright all year round.
Call us today to schedule your teeth cleaning or whitening treatment.