I’m thinking that the Sugar Plum Faeries dancing in our heads rarely consider the possibility of tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, we can.
The holiday season presents an increased possibility of really yummy things to eat. Unfortunately, yummy usually means sticky, sugary foods eaten frequently and often with reckless abandon. This is a problem as the naturally occurring bacteria found in our mouths also eat the same sticky, sugary foods that we eat. The biproduct of oral bacteria (seen as dental plaque) is an acid. This acid affects both the integrity of the tooth structure (creates cavities in the tooth enamel), and the health of the supporting soft tissues (causes sore, swollen gums). Not only that – sugars (refined and naturally occurring forms) also create a high acid environment in our mouths which contributes to increased tooth decay and poor oral health.
“So, how do I and my family enjoy the holiday eating while being mindful of maintaining healthy oral practices?”
Reduce the frequency of exposure to foods high in sugar content.
It’s unrealistic to think that we will not be indulging in sweets through out the holiday season. Rather than snacking on sweet things, have your cake (and eat it too!) immediately following a meal. Exposure to carbohydrates occurs while we indulge in a healthy diet (it’s unavoidable) so we can slip the sweet things in strategically. And in between meals, choose to snack on Calcium-rich foods (cheese, nuts, and leafy vegetables), Phosphorus-rich foods (eggs, fish, and lean meats), and Vitamin C-rich foods (fresh fruits and vegetables).
Up your dental hygiene game!
Be sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once daily. Being mindful of the stickiness of yummy holiday foods, have crunchy snacks readily available in your home or car if you are unable to brush immediately following exposure to sticky sweets. Crunchy snacks would include apples, carrots, celery, and nuts like almonds. Crunchy foods help to remove the sticky residues of sweets from our teeth. Also limit exposure to sweet drinks or sodas. Drink water between meals! With younger children, help them with their dental care by brushing and flossing for them at the night-time clean. And make it fun . . . if you can!
Checking in with your professional dental team aids in creating greater awareness in the minds of you and your family members regarding maintaining good oral health through the holidays. They can address any of your questions and concerns; and more importantly, your dental team can seek to assist you in developing a personalized care strategy.
Good Luck!! Best Wishes to you and your family from Dr. Tina and the Team at Dundarave Dental!
Diane, Assistant to Dr. Tina Dhillon
Dundarave Dental Clinic – Your Family Cosmetic, Implant & General Dentist in West Vancouver