How to Avoid Tooth Decay this Holiday Season

Moderation is the key!

Moderation is the key!

The holidays are a sweet time — spending time with friends and family you may not otherwise see during the year.  But sweet treats are also in abundance throughout the season, which isn’t so good for your smile or your health.

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy this Season

With all the sweet treats, how can you avoid them? Dr. Roderick Garcia, DMD has a few tips:

Cut Back on Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks (sodas, fruit juices, flavored waters or holiday treats like egg nog) contain high levels of tooth-harming sugar. Some, like orange juice and soda, also contain acid that can harm tooth enamel.

While you don't have to skip holiday treats entirely, make sure to limit them and stay away from the sugary drinks you can get year-round.

Avoid Long-Lasting and Sticky Sweets

Eating long-lasting and sticky sweets like taffy or candy canes exposes your teeth to sugar and acid for long periods of time. Pieces of sticky candy can even remain on your teeth long after you're finished eating!

The best way to avoid this situation is to avoid the candy, but if you do want to sneak a treat, make sure you brush away the sugar as soon as you're done.

Drink Water after Eating and Chew Sugarless Gum

Drinking water after eating and snacking will help rinse food particles away, especially if you swish. Chewing sugarless gum can also help remove food particles, but chewing gum has other benefits as well.

Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum up to 20 minutes after eating increase the saliva in your mouth. Your saliva can help neutralize the acids in your mouth that cause cavities. Look for gum that carries the American Dental Association's seal of approval.

Moderation is Key

Nobody wants to completely avoid sweets during the holiday, and you shouldn't have to! The important thing to remember is to eat a minimal amount and remember the above points! This will minimize the amount of exposure to sugar and acid.

Remember Your Regular Dental Check-Up

The best way to ensure your dental health this holiday season is to remember your regular dental check-ups with Dr. Garcia. Regular dental check-ups will keep your teeth clean of damaging plaque and allow Dr. Garcia to catch any problems while they are still small and easy to treat.

The bottom line: it’s better for your teeth and for your health to enjoy the sweetness of friends and family this holiday season than sweet treats. But it won’t hurt to indulge a little — just practice moderation, and your smile will thank you!

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