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What Traditional Holiday Foods Can Hurt My Teeth?

October 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — ornelasdental @ 11:26 pm
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People love to indulge during the holiday season. While Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the like can all seem like an excuse to forget about making smart food and drink choices, overindulging in holiday treats can be a recipe for painful and expensive dental emergencies later on. Here’s a brief list of traditional holiday foods that you should take care to enjoy in moderation in order to preserve your dental health.

Red Wine Isn’t That Fine

Red wine can be the perfect pairing for a red meat dish, but it carries certain dangers for your teeth. Red wine is highly acidic and full of pigments. This acid will start breaking down your enamel when it makes contact with your teeth. If this happens too much over too long a period, you will begin to develop cavities.

To make matters worse, the pigments in red wine can become embedded in your enamel, causing stains and discoloration that can be difficult to remove. Enjoy red wine in moderation and take care to drink it alongside a tall glass of water to help wash it away from your teeth as you drink it.

Candy Canes Can Cause Dental Pain

Candy canes are basically solidified peppermint-flavored sugar. Hard candies like these are some of the worst things for your teeth because they are designed to sit in your mouth and dissolve for extended periods of time. This covers your teeth in a sugary residue that feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing on a candy cane isn’t much better, as it can be hard enough to cause chips or cracks in your teeth. Enjoy candy canes sparingly.

Dried Fruit Isn’t the Best Route

Fresh fruit is one of the best types of food for your oral health because it contains no added sugars and can be fibrous enough to scrape plaque and food residue away from your teeth without harming your enamel. It also contains vitamins and minerals that are essential to your oral health. Unfortunately, dried fruit is a bit different because of its sticky texture. When dried fruit gets stuck to your teeth, the sugars it contains cannot be easily washed away by your saliva, allowing it to feed the harmful bacteria that cause oral infections.

The best ways to mitigate the damage these holiday treats can cause are to drink plenty of water, practice excellent oral hygiene, and see your dentist regularly. If you take good care of your teeth, they can serve you faithfully for many holiday seasons to come.

About the Author

Dr. Joe Ornelas earned his dental doctorate at Indiana University School of Dentistry and has continued to stay up to date in the field by regularly completing continuing education courses. He is a proud and active member of the American Dental Association, the Indiana Dental Association, and the Northwest Indiana Dental Society. His office in Crown Point, IN offers preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry. To schedule a post-holiday dental appointment, contact the office online or dial (219) 663-2892.

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