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November 17, 2021

Are the Holidays the Worst Time for Your Dental Health?

holiday treats that can harm oral health in Ann Arbor

The holidays may be a fun and exciting time of year, but they also bring with them an increased number of baked goods and other sweet treats. Though these sugary snacks may be tasty, they can do a lot of harm to your teeth and mean bad news for your oral health. Read on to learn about the top causes of cavities and how to prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues in Ann Arbor.

Sweet, High-Carb, and Starchy Foods

Many holidays are celebrated with tons of sugar-packed, carb-heavy, and starchy baked goods. Starch breaks down into sugar, and sugar combines with oral bacteria to form plaque. The longer your teeth are exposed to plaque, the more likely it is to eat away at your enamel and lead to cavities.

Snacking Throughout the Day

Though the kinds of foods you consume impact your oral health, so do the amounts. Because eating constantly inhibits your mouth from producing enough saliva to neutralize harmful bacteria and wash away food debris, this puts extra stress on your teeth and gums. Eating also throws off the pH levels in the mouth, so constant snacking makes the environment more acidic than usual, which can do a lot of damage to your smile.

Changes to Your Routine

Going on vacation can throw off your oral health routines. If you forget to pack your toothbrush or dental floss and can’t clean your teeth at all while you’re away from home, this can have long-lasting impacts on your oral health.

How to Protect Your Oral Health During the Holidays

Luckily, there are several ways to protect your mouth from harm during the holidays, including:

  • Travel kit – Consider keeping a dental kit on you while traveling that contains a toothbrush, dental floss, and mouthwash.
  • Eat less sugar – Cut back on your sugar consumption to lessen your chances of developing cavities. Opt for desserts like dark chocolate and sugar-free candy to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Drink water – Drinking water during or after meals will help wash away harmful oral bacteria and food debris as well as neutralize acids in the mouth. Staying hydrated throughout the day will also keep your mouth from drying out.
  • Eat a tooth-healthy diet – Along with eating and drinking things that are less damaging to your teeth, adopt a tooth-healthy diet. This includes turkey, chicken, fish, squash, spinach, carrots, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt.

The holidays may be a great time to catch up with loved ones, but don’t let your oral health suffer in the process. With the above tips and by making appointments to see your dentist every six months, you can avoid oral health issues and enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

About the Practice

Dr. James Olsen and his Ann Arbor team of oral health professionals aim to provide patients with the exceptional treatment options they need to keep their smiles as healthy as possible. They can also provide you with information on what to avoid during the holidays to make it to the other side with your smile intact. Call their office at (734) 996-0200 or visit their website for more information on how to protect your oral health this holiday season or to schedule an appointment.

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