The holidays are here, which means delicious store-bought goodies and tempting homemade treats are around the corner. We know it can be hard to get away from sweet treats during the holidays, but Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta pediatric dentist, has some tips to ensure those sugary treats don’t lead to cavities.
“As a dentist, I always want my patients to choose healthy snacks and have sugar in moderation,” says Dr. Nanna.
“So, my first piece of advice this holiday season is to pick the treats you want to indulge in carefully. The candy aisles in stores are filled as abundantly as they are at Halloween, but skip the treats you can find year-round, and instead choose the special treats found only at the holidays.”
Choose Snack Timing Carefully
Dr. Nanna also advises to choose the timing of when you snack on treats carefully. Having a dessert right after mealtime is good, because saliva production increases during meals, and the saliva can help to wash away food particles and tame the acids created by the bacteria in your mouth. Avoid snacking throughout the day, as each snack introduces another opportunity for bacteria and acid to intermingle and wreak havoc in your mouth.
Avoid Sticky Snacks
Avoid foods that can stick to your teeth, such as dried fruits, caramels, taffy and toffee. You might think dried fruit is a healthy option, but it can stick to the teeth, allowing the sugars found in them to turn into acid in the mouth.
Brush and Floss
Be sure to brush and floss frequently. Plaque loves the acids that are found in sugars, so brushing often will help to avoid plaque build-up during this holiday season. If you’ll be out and about a lot, be sure to pack a travel sized toothbrush and floss with you so you can brush on the go.
Adults Alcohol Intake
“Adults also need to take care to limit their alcohol intake,” says Dr. Nanna. “Alcohol can create a dry mouth, making an environment perfect for bacteria and plaque to thrive. If you enjoy a glass or two of eggnog, be sure you also drink plenty of water.”
Dr. Nanna also wants to look out for crunchy foods, and foods filled with nuts. Biting down awkwardly on nut-filled fudge, toffee, or even candy canes can cause teeth to chip or crack.
“This holiday season, you can enjoy all of the delicious goodies that you love, but it’s important to also pay close attention to your oral hygiene,” says Dr. Nanna. “In addition to the sweets, be sure to eat a well-balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals that can keep your teeth healthy and strong. And don’t forget to be a good example for your children.”