Christmas is known as the number one occasion for buying candies and sweets, so it seems obvious that the Christmas season is an important time for dentists and patients alike. A Beautiful Smile is excited about the holidays and we want you to enjoy time with your friends and family, even while eating and drinking. But make sure you take the precautions to keep your smile healthy and your teeth clean! To ensure that your teeth are in tip-top shape into the New Year, keep in mind these tips:

Eat sugar-free

Sugary snacks and sweets may be your favorite thing, but they’re also loved by the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for tooth decay. When you eat sugary foods these cavity-causing bacteria produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth. By picking sweets that are sugar-free, you can enjoy the taste of the holiday candies without the uninvited hungry bacteria and corrosive acids. You can go a step further by searching for candies that contain xylitol, which helps reduce the buildup of plaque. It is a sweetener rather than an artificial sugar, which makes it better than sugar substitutes like aspartame.

Chew (sugar-free) gum post-meal

The benefits of sugar-free candy extend beyond the fact that they don’t contain sugar. Sugar-free gums and candies also help produce extra saliva that can wash away bacteria and plaque. When you chew on a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal, you also can remove trapped food material. If you chew gum for about 20 minutes after a meal you should be able to reap these benefits. Look for gums labeled with the ADA seal, which means the gum has those non-cavity causing sweeteners.

Indulge in dark chocolate versus other types of chocolate

Chocolate can be contributing factor in heart disease and increased blood pressure. That’s why if you are a chocoholic, it’s best to opt for dark chocolate because it’s packed with compounds that protect your heart and prevent diseases that affect more than just your mouth. Milk chocolate and white chocolate just don’t offer you the same protective benefits. When stocking up on holiday bars to pass out to family or friends (or save for yourself) look for ones that contain over 60% cocoa. Otherwise, you won’t reap the heart-protective benefits and you will add a lot of calories and fat to your diet.

Put sticky sweets on your naughty list

Say no to sticky foods, unless in moderation. Even dried fruits and chewy candies can cause your teeth to suffer. Not only do chewy candies and dried fruits make for a harder eating experience that works your jaw and teeth, but those particles tend to linger longer on your teeth, increasing the cavity risk. For a child with braces, chewy candies can mean a trip to the dentist.

If you have any other questions associated with having a tooth-friendly Christmas, call our office so we can recommend the best things for you and your family this season.