Which Holiday Treats are Bad for Your Teeth?

When you think about the holiday season, a lot comes to mind. Friends, family, and delicious food are all probably toward the top of your list, but let’s be real here. Everyone knows there’s only one thing any of us are thinking about during the holidays: Our teeth!

…Well, all right, maybe that isn’t exactly true (as much as the dental care profession would want it to be!) But just because people don’t normally think much about their teeth over the holidays doesn’t mean that’s the best way to go about your oral hygiene. In fact, with all the food and treats abound, the holidays can prove to be one of the most dangerous times of the year for your teeth. And with that in mind, following is a list of some treats you may want to stay away from this holiday season, or at least try and take steps to combat the deleterious effects of.

Candy Canes

 While they may look pretty, these stocking stuffers can really wreak havoc on your teeth during the holidays if you don’t take some quick and easy precautions. In truth, it’s their festive abundance that makes candy canes dental enemy #1 over the holidays; since they’re seemingly ubiquitous during the holiday season, peppermint munchers among us are inclined to eat them whenever they cross their sights, which may well be every five seconds.

And though eating plenty of candy canes is certainly no crime (we’d all be guilty if it were!), eating them before bed can leave you with an undesirable gift: a ticket to your local dentist for a cavity filling. This is because the leftovers sugars from the candy cane will sit on your teeth and degrade them during the night, ultimately creating cavities. In order to combat the negative effects of candy canes this holiday season, you should try to avoid them for a couple of hours before you go to sleep, and be sure to brush after every cane!

Holiday Cookies

Who doesn’t love grandma’s delicious holiday cookies? In fact, who doesn’t love any kind of holiday cookie? Really, as long as they’re not those nasty hard ones from the year before that just sit in that oversized tin all year (we’ve all been there… and subsequently regretted it), it’s probably safe to say that holiday cookies are loved by everyone but the Grinches among us.

But while it’s true that they have a near-universal fan base, it’s also true that holiday cookies have the potential to be harmful to your teeth. What’s more, holiday cookies can be especially dangerous since they’re often considered a good bedtime treat for kids and small children. While having cookies and milk before bed may be a comforting way to end the night, if you don’t remember to brush afterward, don’t expect any presents from your teeth this Christmas.

Chocolate

 Though chocolate can certainly be enjoyed at any time of the year, with the abundance of treats during the holiday season, it’s no surprise that chocolate would end up making this list. Chocolates can be problematic for most of the same reasons as other treats, but they pose a unique threat because chocolate tends to be more rich and thus filling. As a result, some people have a tendency to eat chocolate at the end of a meal (say lunch or after a mid-morning snack), and then not eat anything else for an extended period of time. If you couple this with a habit for not brushing your teeth, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be getting some unexpected visits from the cavity fairy sometime soon.

While brushing after every treat may be a bit of a hassle, it may also be worth it if you consider the prospect of getting a cavity filled. And of course, although treats alone won’t damage your teeth, they certainly have the potential to. Knowing this, it’s important to brush after every round of treat-munching this holiday season. This holiday season, give brushing a chance.

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