Congratulations! You made it through Halloween. Now that you are getting over the sugar rush from all the candy you “borrowed” from your kids, you are probably thinking that was not the best thing for your teeth. And you are right. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we don’t like to say, “I told you so,” so instead, we’re offering these six tips for healthy holiday eating:
Keep up the brushing and flossing
At this time of year, it’s easy to put off the mundane when you are busy, excited or tired. But it is important to keep up with your twice-daily dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing. Most people like to do it first thing in the morning and just before bedtime. It’s a great habit that brings a sense of both anticipation and closure, like bookends on the day. Kids love habitual rituals, too, so remember to include them in the routine.
Chewy treats are for dogs
Not that you would chew on rawhide, but chewy candies like caramels, gummy bears and red licorice are really bad for your teeth! They stick to the surface, leaving a plaque-inducing residue that encourages tooth decay. They have also been known to loosen fillings, and are absolutely a no-no for denture wearers. For a sweet tooth, a good alternative is fruit-based snacks like raisins and dried apples with cinnamon. But please don’t feed raisins to your dog: they are highly toxic to Fido.
Avoid hard candies
These are another kind of candy that often harm teeth. They leave sugar residue on your teeth and can break or crack teeth easily. Candy canes are especially popular at Christmas. Even if you intend to suck on them slowly, you’re still dealing with sugar. And who hasn’t gotten tired towards the end and just eaten the rest? Then you spend the next five minutes digging out the nuggets from the divots in your molars. In the end, it’s wise to put all candy on the naughty list.
Nuts are actually a healthy snack that many people enjoy. During the holiday season, they come in all shapes and sizes. Mostly, they come in shells. Please don’t give in to the temptation to crack them open with your teeth. This is how teeth crack. As dentists, we see a lot of this during the holidays. Our advice: go get a nutcracker! Tchaikovsky even wrote a ballet for it, so you can sing and dance along with music while you are cracking those nuts (but stay away from the Sugar Plum Fairies).
Red or white?
Actually, both red and white wine will stain your teeth. So will coffee, tea and certain fruit juices. If you are not able to rinse with water or brush your teeth after enjoying that glass of wine, drinking water might be a better choice. If you do indulge, remember that Lifetime Family Dental has professional teeth whitening services. We want you to look your best, with your brightest smile.
Make a dental appointment
With everyone home for the holidays, it’s a perfect time for the whole family to come in for a checkup and cleaning. Many dental benefits expire at the end of the year, so it’s also perfect timing for an appointment if you still have leftover funds in your account These six tips for healthy holiday eating will make your visit to Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert much more fun as we applaud you for making good choices!