It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but you may not feel very jolly if you need to dash through the snow to an emergency orthodontic appointment at Georgia School of Orthodontics. And no one wants to launch their New Year’s resolutions after the holidays with “fill cavities.” How can you make it through the sweetest season with your braces intact?
Normally, candies and sweets can end up on the naughty list, but we don’t want to be Scrooges! We understand that It’s part of the holiday fun to indulge in a treat or two, and we have some tips on how to enjoy them guilt-free. But first, there are certainly some treats that are more naughty than sweet.
Traditional Candy Cane
If after casually biting down on a much harder-than-expected piece of candy, you ever sustained a broken bracket or a chipped tooth, you know that caution is in order. This is why we like to savor candy canes, making them melt in the mouth slowly rather than biting into them. The downside to this approach, of course, is that we’re now slowly coating our teeth in sugar, allowing plaque and cavity-causing bacteria to develop.
When you crunch away, candy canes, peppermints, and other hard candies are potentially bad for your teeth and braces, and certainly bad for your teeth if you let the candy dissolve slowly in your mouth.
Gumdrops are colorful and great for roofing your gingerbread house, trimming a gumdrop tree, or displayed in a bowl. They are one of the sweetest ways to decorate for the holidays. And when we say ‘sweet,’ literally, we mean that. Essentially, most gumdrops are made of corn syrup and sugar and then rolled in more sugar!
But sugar content isn’t the only problem. This is sugar in an extra-gummy shape that sticks to our teeth and around our gums, and gets caught around brackets and wires.
Chewy Caramels, Toffees, and Taffy
They often come in lovely decorative boxes, but they are not a gift to your teeth with these incredibly sticky foods.
Not only do chewy candies stick to enamel, they stick to fillings, crowns and orthodontic wires and brackets . Nobody wants an unnecessary ride to the dentist or orthodontist because they have damaged or dislodged dental work!
Decorative gingerbread house
Gingerbread houses, chewy, sticky gingerbread coated with hard sugar icing, gumdrops, and peppermints, are a staple of the holidays. While they are nice for your decor; they’re pretty naughty for your dental health. If you really have a craving, eat one gingerbread man and leave your gingerbread house intact.
We know this list isn’t very jolly so as a special holiday gift here are some tips to help you enjoy your holiday sweets in the healthiest way possible,
Take time to choose
You search for the perfect holiday gifts for your family and friends, so why not take the time to choose the perfect holiday treat for yourself and your dental health? Keep away from sticky, hard and excessively sugary desserts if you are wearing braces, or are concerned about cavities or your general oral health.
What can you receive with an appreciative (and relieved) smile from your holiday hosts? Having an occasional piece of soft chocolate is no cause for stress, and if it’s dark chocolate, you’ll actually get nutritional magnesium and antioxidants. Desserts like cakes, cookies, cupcakes and pies should be braces-friendly, and even though they are made with lots of sugar, it is the holidays so a little indulgence is expected. Just remember to follow on our next suggestions to make your dessert guilt free.
Eat your dessert with a meal
Did you know that your saliva does than stopping your mouth from getting dry? By washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids from food and bacteria which damage enamel, it also helps prevent cavities.
Eating your dessert with your meal increases mealtime saliva production. This acid-neutralizing ability is reduced if you snack throughout the day.
Rinse your mouth after a meal
After a meal or a snack, rinsing your mouth with water, often helps to wash away the sugars and carbohydrates that oral bacteria turn into acids that cause cavities.
To brush or not to brush right after a meal?
You want to make sure that there is no food residue trapped inside the brackets and wires if you wear braces. If you are wearing aligners, after eating, you want to get rid of any food debris on and around your teeth before putting your aligner back on your teeth.
But if you have eaten acidic foods like citrus or cola, the acids in the food will weaken your enamel just enough to cause some possible enamel damage. To give your enamel a chance to heal, we always suggest waiting about 30 minutes to brush.
Every mouth is different, especially if you’re wearing braces. Talk to our Georgia School of Orthodontics doctors about the best times and brushing methods.
You don’t want to spend the holiday season visiting our Atlanta or Gwinnett office for a bracket repair. Choose your holiday desserts wisely, and make sure that if you indulge in festive treats you are brushing and flossing more often. Give yourself the gift of a lovely, healthy smile this holiday season!