Everyone loves to eat their favorite foods, and certain foods are extra special because we only have them around the holidays! While we would never suggest that you skip out on your favorite holiday treats, we think it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay aware of which foods are the worst offenders.
We put together this list of our 4 least-favorite holiday foods. If you see one of your favorites on the list, be sure to enjoy it with plenty of water, so you can rinse your teeth. It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming them, once the pH in your mouth has had time to return to normal.
The 4 Worst Holiday Foods for Your Teeth
1. Eggnog and Other Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol is not great for your health in many ways, and one of them is that it dehydrates you. When you’re hydrated, your saliva helps to rinse your teeth, washing away lingering food particles and bacteria. Eggnog is particularly harmful because it’s so thick, this results in it sticking on your teeth for longer periods of time.
2. Candy Canes: Candy canes are essentially pure sugar, so it isn’t hard to see why they’re not the best for our smiles. However, something that makes them worse than most sugary things is that they take a long time to eat. For the entire time that you’re sucking on your candy cane, a sugary film starts to coat your teeth (the same one that coats your chin and fingers). This increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugar, making the bacteria that live in your mouth very happy.
2. Caramel: Like candy canes, caramel is high in sugar. It’s also sticky, which makes it so that it gets embedded in all the nooks and crannies in your teeth. Once it sticks to all those crevices, it tends to hang around for a long time.
4. Carbonated Beverages: We know that the sugar content in champagne and soda is problematic for our oral health, but there’s an additional culprit: carbonation. Carbonation is produced with carbon dioxide, which converts to carbonic acid once ingested. This acid can be corrosive to your teeth.
4 Foods to Enjoy Guilt-Free
1. Veggies: We know! Shocking. Veggies are healthy! One of the reasons why is they take a while to chew, and all that chewing stimulates your salivary glands. Like we said earlier, this increase in saliva production is good for rinsing off your teeth.
2. Turkey: Turkey is rich in phosphorus, which is great for your pearly whites. This is good news for many Americans who anchor their holiday meals with turkey.
3. Nuts: Nuts are little mini toothbrushes that gently scrape your teeth after each bite. They also contain calcium, which is an essential mineral for your chompers.
4. Cheese: Cheese has antibacterial qualities and a low pH balance, Both are great for your mouth!
No matter what you eat this holiday season, we hope you enjoy the season with your loved ones!