When December rolls around and the holiday season is in full swing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of desserts — and by the claims that they’ll ruin your teeth. Madison Family Dental is here to let you in on a little secret: It’s okay to enjoy some sweet treats this year!
The holidays are a time of celebration, and there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite dessert alongside your loved ones — as long as you do it responsibly.
Read on for the truth about sugar and your teeth, and get a few tips to keep your enamel in top shape even as you enjoy those holiday cookies and pies.
The truth: Sugar is bad for your teeth
The reality is that sugar is bad for your teeth (and for your overall health in general). Each year, Americans eat more than double the amount of sugar experts say we should — yikes!
There’s no denying that we should cut back on our sugar intake and practice eating it only in moderation on special occasions. Too much sucrose can lead to weight gain, fatigue, irritability, and other long-term health complications.
With that said, it’s entirely possible to have a cookie or two without ruining your teeth. Overthinking your dietary decisions this season will only make it harder to enjoy these special moments with your family — and we all know excess stress is no good, either!
You can still enjoy sweet treats without ruining your enamel
When we eat sugar, the bacteria in our mouths release acids to help break it down. That sounds like a good process, but those acids can damage our enamel, too — ultimately leading to tooth decay and cavities.
So it isn’t the sugar itself that’s so bad for our teeth. It’s the chain of events that eating sugar causes.
Here’s how you can keep your teeth healthy as you indulge in some sweet treats this holiday season.
Eat or drink sugar in one sitting — don’t graze or sip
If you slowly sip or graze on sugary drinks and snacks, you expose your teeth to sugar — and the harmful acids that break it down — for an extended period of time. By limiting your mouth’s exposure by indulging in one short sitting, you can help your teeth stay strong — but don’t eat so fast that you make yourself sick!
Rinse your mouth with plenty of water after having a sugary snack
After you eat or drink something sweet, it’s important to stimulate saliva production to help your mouth wash away bad bacteria, acid, and leftover food particles. One great way to do this is by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water immediately after you have a sugary snack. Take a big swig, swish it around, and repeat a few times over.
An added bonus of this technique? You’ll stay hydrated, which is great for your overall well-being (and far too easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season).
Practice proper brushing and flossing habits
Nothing is more important for your dental health than regular brushing and flossing. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and you should floss at a bare minimum of every other day (but it’s even better if you can get this done on a daily basis).
Get in touch with your dentist if you have questions
So go ahead and enjoy some cookies at your annual cookie exchange — just remember to rinse in between. If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Madison Family Dental is here for you in everything from routine cleanings and dental advice to complicated procedures.
We hope your family enjoys a safe and happy start to the new year!