It’s that time of the year when the sweet smell of holiday food being cooked dominates every kitchen. House-hopping to visit relatives and godparents and attending family reunions and Christmas parties fill up our schedule, all meaning we would be sinking our teeth into tons of sweets, meat, fruitcakes, and other scrumptious food for feasting. Indeed, the more food we indulge in during the holidays, the more we need to look more closely at dental care. After all, our teeth are our bodies’ first food processors.
Tooth Decay Sweets have always been blamed for poor dental heath, especially of children. But the truth is, there are other kinds of food that affect oral health worse than sweets do. Foods high in carbohydrates (such as pastas) or acid (like sodas) pose greater risk to our teeth.
Dentist Matthew Arce, D.M.D., explains that tooth decay starts when bacteria, which live in plaque on teeth, feed off the carbohydrates and sugar in the food we eat, and produce acid in the mouth. The acid then erodes the tooth enamel (the tooth’s outside white covering) and causes decay and/or makes our teeth and gums sensitive.
Here are the most popular culprits in holiday foods and its effects on our teeth:
1. Sweets Candy canes, goody bags filled with sweets, and boxes of chocolates come in loads and bundles during this jolly season. Dr. Arce explains, “Sweet, hard candies can contribute to teeth decay and cavities because of the high sugar content. Moreover, hard candies stay longer in a person’s mouth, as compared to chocolates, which melts quickly, leaving little time for it to attack the teeth and cause cavities.”
Desserts like leche flan have caramelized sugar topping, so it may be best to limit its space on your plates. Indeed, too much sweets is bad for the teeth, thus, should be consumed in moderation. And always remember to drink water and brush your teeth after treating yourself to goodies and sweets.
Click here to learn more about tooth decay and its common sources.