The holidays are coming and that means that there are treats to be found almost everywhere you look. The mall Santa hands out candy canes, the reception desk at work has festive colored chocolates for the taking and it seems that every neighbor on the street is bringing over some tasty sweets for you to try. It's hard not to give in to temptation, and the truth is that you don't have to fight it all the time. A little indulgence is okay, but it helps to know which treats are the worst for your teeth and which aren't quite as bad.
- Sugary Snacks-- All those yummy goodies like cakes and cookies and brownies have a high sugar content that cause tooth decay. Also bad is candy corn, which is basically just sugar in triangular form. If you can't resist, brush as soon as you are finished. Don't leave it sitting on your teeth.
- Sticky Sweets- There is a satisfaction that comes with a really chewy sweet, but there is also tooth decay. The stickier the sweet, the more likely it is to get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and because it's so sticky, saliva has little chance of washing it away. Avoid taffy, caramels and gummy candies as much as possible. Much like sugary snacks, if you must eat something chewy and sticky, be sure to brush as soon as you can.
- Sour candies- For some people, the sour is just as enticing as the sweet, but it can be just as bad for your teeth. Sour candies actually have high levels of acidity, which erodes your tooth enamel. Not good. But here's what is really important: unlike sugary and sticky sweets, you must wait at least a half hour to brush your teeth. This gives your saliva time to help balance out the acid and keeps you from brushing the acid onto your teeth.
- Sugar-Free Gum- Okay, so sugar free gum may not sound like the most enticing snack, but it does help get rid of food particles lodged in your teeth. It also increases the saliva in your mouth to help combat the acid that causes tooth decay. Moreover, perhaps with gum in your mouth, you won't be quite so likely to pop a sugary treat in your mouth.
- Sugar-Free Hard Candies- Available in many forms, including the kid-friendly lollipop, sugar free hard candies stimulate saliva and prevent dry mouth. That's good, because dry mouth allows plaque to form faster, leading to cavities.
- Dark Chocolate- Okay, this one is a cheat. Dark chocolate is full of sugar and that's not good for your teeth. But studies have shown that there are antioxidants in dark chocolate that can lower your blood pressure. So if you're going to eat something that may not be good for your teeth, it can at least be good for your body.
It's so easy to get caught up in the madness of the holidays. You don't need to add a visit to the dentist to your list of things to do. Stop and make good choices for your mouth.