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Wellbody Tip: Keeping Teeth Happy During the Holidays

peppermint‘Tis the season of decadent sweets and visions of sugar plums! But sugar-laden holiday treats are especially hard on teeth.

That's because sugar mixes with bacteria to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. Even worse, sticky plaque constantly forming on teeth makes those harmful acids cling to the teeth, causing even more decay. (Maybe those sweets don’t sound so sweet after all!) 

To get you and your pearly whites through this time of year, Delta Dental of Washington shares a few tooth-healthy tips:

 

• Candy Canes: These swirly delights, when consumed slowly, dissolve in your mouth allowing acid to build up on your teeth. Nibble on peppermint treats quickly and carefully to limit their negative oral health impact. Resist the temptation to bite or chomp them because you risk cracking or chipping your teeth. 

• Christmas Cookies: Santa’s favorite baked goods are laden with sugar and can do significant damage to your teeth. Enjoy one or two and give the rest away to Saint Nick.

• Holiday Drinks (such as eggnog, apple cider and hot chocolate): Festive beverages offer more than warm, holiday cheer – eggnog boasts more than 20 grams of sugar per cup and hot cider can pack more than 65 grams of sugar when spruced up with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Stick to one small serving of your favorite drink and wash away the sugars afterward with a glass of water.

• Caramels: Chewy, sticky treats like homemade caramels and glistening gumdrops have very high sugar content, are difficult for saliva to break down and spend a lot of time stuck to your teeth. Limit your intake of these treats, and when you do enjoy them try to brush your teeth shortly afterward and remember to drink lots of water.

• Fruitcake: Despite being the center of many jokes, fruitcake has a strong presence during the holidays. The sugary cake base and the chewy, candied fruit are no laughing matter when it comes to oral health. Be sure to rinse or brush and floss your teeth after noshing on fruitcake.

When you do indulge your holiday sweet tooth, it’s best to enjoy goodies as part of or immediately following a meal, rather than snacking on treats throughout the day.

Stick to one small serving of your favorite drink or snack and follow up by:

 - swishing some water around your mouth

 - chewing sugar-free gum or

 - brushing your teeth soon after eating sweets to wash away some of the sticky sugar residue and keep your breath fresh and minty.

By reducing your sugar intake you can give yourself the gift of great oral and overall health and have a happy mouth for the holidays!

For more information, visit www.DeltaDentalWa.com/blog.

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Guest Tuesday, 29 July 2014