‘Tis the season to throw caution out the window and indulge in goodies we would normally skip during the rest of the year. This is understandable given the sweets and other delicacies that are offered at parties and gatherings during the holidays. But consider yourself forewarned that too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing pretty quickly.
While most are all yummy, some holiday sweets can do so much damage to your teeth (and waistline) that they’re probably not worth the calories. While I’d never suggest complete avoidance of holiday goodies, here’s a list of indulgences you should be mindful of this season.
Candy Canes : The problem with candy canes is the prolonged amount of time that they linger as you slowly dissolve them in your mouth. Not to mention, the temptation to chomp them, which can lead to cracks or chips in your teeth. Eat them quickly and carefully to limit their negative oral health impact.
Christmas Cookies: Santa and his elves may love them, but holiday cookies are laden with sugar and can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Of course, we know suggesting skipping cookies entirely is impractical. Just enjoy them in moderation.
Holiday Drinks (such as eggnog, apple cider and hot chocolate): Festive beverages offer more than warm, holiday cheer—eggnog boasts over 20 grams of sugar per cup,1 while hot cider can pack over 65 grams of sugar when dolled up with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Stick to one small serving of your favorite drink and wash away some of the sticky sugar residue with a glass of water.
Caramels : Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are not only high in sugar, but they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for saliva to break down. The same rule applies to all those sparkly gumdrops on your gingerbread house.
Fruitcake: Granted fruitcake isn’t everyone’s favorite, some people actually eat the fruitcake that gets passed around at the holidays. Oral health reasons to avoid it include the sugary cake base and the chewy, candied fruit that stud it throughout.
Remember, the one common ingredient in all of the holiday treats is sugar. And, sugar is downright bad for teeth. It mixes with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. The stickiness of that plaque keeps those harmful acids against the teeth, which contributes to tooth decay.
Try to enjoy these treats in moderation, and if you find yourself overindulging, perhaps spend some extra time flossing and brushing at least twice a day!