The final two months of the year are jam packed with food, drink, friends and family. While you’re enjoying the festivities of the season, it’s good to know how some of these holiday indulgences can impact your oral health. Some of the answers may surprise you!
Amber Bonnaig, DDS, at DentaQuest, gives insight on how to navigate the holidays while staying mindful of your oral health.
“Dentists don’t want you to eliminate all your favorite holiday foods from your diet,” Bonnaig said. “It’s okay to enjoy the delicious treats present at seasonal gatherings. The key is to understand how certain foods can affect your oral health and how to implement methods to protect your teeth.”
Bonnaig shares some information to consider about some of our favorite holiday indulgences:
- Reach for the crudité and cheese plate: At a cocktail party, crunchy fruits and vegetables are a great snack choice. These have a higher water content, which can help to dilute the effects of the sugars. They also stimulate the flow of saliva, which helps protect against tooth decay. Foods like cheese, poultry, meats, and nuts are high in calcium and phosphorus, which studies show can help remineralize tooth enamel.
- Choose your adult beverage wisely: Some studies show that acid in white wines may erode enamel, the protective layer of your teeth, making teeth more sensitive to cold, hot and sweet foods. And while staining is more commonly associated with red wine, studies show that white wine actually has an acid content that tends to increase the risk of dark dental stains if you also drink tea or similar beverages. If you’re more of a whiskey than wine person, you may be interested to know that lighter or clear spirits can help you avoid higher sugar contents. However, mixing clear alcohol with sugary juices or soda can negate that factor.
- Enjoy the oral health benefits of red wine: While you might have heard about red wine’s benefits to heart health, you may be surprised about its oral health benefits. Studies have shown that the antioxidant properties in red wine seem to prevent the bacteria which causes tooth decay from sticking to saliva and teeth. And research conducted at Cornell University found chemicals in grape seeds and red wine that help limit inflammation caused by gingivitis. Limiting inflammation may also protect against periodontal disease.
“It’s important to practice good dental hygiene throughout the holiday season in order to keep a healthy mouth,” Bonnaig says. “You can enjoy all your favorites in moderation, but should continue to brush twice a day, floss, and keep a healthy balance between sugary snacks and healthier foods.”
To learn more about healthy hygiene habits, check out this recent blog post.