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The Worst Holiday Tooth Offenders

 

Tis the season for sweet treats, drink indulgences, and really doing a number on your poor teeth. All those Christmas sweets don’t technically cause cavities, but sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth—which can lead to tooth decay. Fudge is especially popular, and authentic British Christmas pudding is a triple whammy with loads of chocolate, citrus infusions (with all that acid) and a hearty addition of alcohol. If you do treat yourself to sugary sweets this holiday season, brush your teeth well and soon afterward to encourage that sugar to not sit in your mouth.

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However, citrus and other acidic foods can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. Once that enamel is gone, you can’t get it back. In extreme situations, too much wearing of the enamel can lead to painful tooth sensitivity. Most people can’t avoid citrus altogether (it’s in a lot of healthy foods!), so instead keep your intake to a minimum and don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something acidic. That makes the wear on teeth worse by spreading the acid around.

Healthier Options

The holidays also have a lot of treats that won’t hurt your teeth—or are even good for them! That classic milk for Santa is full of calcium, which helps strengthen bones and teeth. Consider pairing it with sugar-free cookies to keep both calories and sugar to a minimum. Natural sweeteners like the Stevia plant and monk juice give you sweetness without the bacteria-feeding risks.

That classic holiday ham is full of protein, which can help make you feel full faster. Opting for a dry white wine keeps sugars low, and won’t stain your teeth like red wines. Choose Christmas “crackers” (the kind that you pull apart to cause a confetti explosion) as an excellent non-foodie treat and an option for a new holiday tradition.

Most of all, enjoy the holidays and the time with your loved ones.




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