When it comes to holiday sweets, most people worry about what it will do to their waist line. Not much thought is given about what an increase in sweets can do to their teeth. While you might assume a few extra trips to the gym after the holidays will take care of the sweets, the potential damage to your teeth from an increase in sweets can be more troublesome.
“If you are continually eating sweets all day long because candy or other sugary treats are available, it raises the acid levels in your mouth to a higher than normal level and that can lead to an increase in demineralization of the enamel and cavity formation,” said Dr. Richard Wolfert, DMD. “Also, the sticky nature of most candy provides the bacteria with more opportunity to create the acid that causes all the problems.”
Adds Wolfert, “And, it goes without saying that sticky candies and sweets are not the best thing to be eating if you have crowns, bridges or other prosthetic appliances in your mouth that can be ‘pulled’ out.”
Does that mean you shouldn’t have any sweets during the holidays? According to Dr. Wolfert, sweets in moderation are fine. There are a few guidelines you should follow to be safe with your teeth during the holidays.
Avoid chewy candies that can stick to your teeth. Also, you also want to be wary of chewing on hard candy or ice cubes. Whether you’re enjoying a sweet or finishing the ice in your holiday cocktail, let it dissolve naturally in your mouth. Better yet, skip these items altogether. Ice can cause discomfort for sensitive teeth, and hard candies promote tooth decay.
Beyond eating habits, Wolfert cautions against some potential causes of dental issues during the holidays. For example, use the proper tools to open packages and bottles. Gripping a package or stubborn bottle cap with your teeth can crack them, possibly requiring a root canal procedure and a crown for repair. Give your teeth a gift and reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead.
“While following these tips will help avoid an emergency trip to the dentist, brushing your teeth at least twice a day—particularly after sweets—will go a long way to keeping the holidays from having a negative impact on your mouth,” said Dr. Wolfert.
The holidays are not a good time to get a toothache, with many dentists spending time with THEIR families. Often times you will have to be treated by a covering dentist who doesn’t know your dental issues as well as your primary dentist. Therefore, adds Dr. Wolfert, “A checkup prior to the holidays is a very good idea. That way if there are any existing problems, you can address them before you start eating those rich desserts and sweets at the holidays that can aggravate an existing condition.”
Dr. Wolfert’s practice, Smiles by the Toothboss, is located at 1121 Main Street in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. For more information on correct brushing and flossing technique, you can visit Dr. Wolfert’s website at www.toothboss.com or call 781-335-0604 to schedule a consultation.
About The Toothboss
The Toothboss offers: comprehensive examinations (written treatment and treatment plan provided); cosmetics; crowns, bridges and tooth-colored restorations; partial and full dentures; periodontics (early cases treated); oral surgery; restoration of conventional and small diameter implants; and emergency services (24-hour emergency phone number available).
The Toothboss accepts most insurance plans. They also accept payment from most PPO and indemnity plans, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Delta Dental. They also accept all major credit cards and have arranged payment plans through LendingClub.
To schedule an initial consultation, please call 781-335-0604. For more information, visit www.toothboss.com.