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For many of us, the holiday season is a busy time, filled with family gatherings, friendly get-togethers, and work parties. All these festive events are brimming with food and delicious beverages to go along with the merriment and joyfulness that make up the holidays. As your Kansas City family dentist, we don’t want to shift the focus away from fun and festivities, but we also don’t want you to get so caught up in merrymaking that you forget your dental health. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to bust some of the myths about holiday foods and your overall oral health so that your smile stays as bright as your spirits this holiday season!
Myth: Sugar-Free Sweets Are Completely Harmless to Teeth.
You already know that sugars can do some serious damage to your teeth, especially when they stay in contact with them for long periods of time, such as when you’re sucking on a candy cane or chewing caramels. While sugar-free sweets are less damaging than sugary ones, they can still contain acids and other substances that may contribute to enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Myth: Hard Candies Aren’t That Bad for Your Teeth.
As we mentioned, hard candies linger longer in your mouth, which means your teeth have prolonged exposure to sugar. Humans love sugar, and so do the bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more damage the bacteria can do. What’s more, crunching on hard candies can lead to chipped or broken teeth.
Myth: The More You Brush After Eating Sweets, the Better.
You shouldn’t actually brush your teeth immediately after eating acidic or sugary foods. The enamel of your teeth is particularly soft immediately after eating, and brushing too soon can actually damage your teeth. It’s a better idea to rinse with water and wait a bit, then brush.
Myth: Chewing Ice Is Harmless.
This one goes hand-in-hand with hard candies. Chewing on ice cubes can lead to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, especially for those with braces or those whose teeth are particularly fragile.
Myth: Cheese Boards Are a Safe Bet for Dental Health at Holiday Parties.
Charcuterie boards are popular at holiday parties, but while cheese is good for your teeth (thanks to all that calcium), accompanying items such as crackers may be sticky and sugary. Go ahead and snack on the cheese, but reach for the cut carrots and celery to go with it.
Myth: Eating Sticky Foods Is Okay as Long as You Brush Right After.
As we already mentioned, brushing right after you eat sugary treats isn’t a great idea for your teeth anyway, and sticky foods such as caramel or toffee pose unique challenges to your dental health. They can cling to teeth and under braces for long periods of time. They also pose risks to certain types of dental work, such as fillings and crowns.
Myth: Holiday Stress Doesn’t Affect Oral Health.
The fact is, stress affects pretty much every aspect of your health. When it comes to your oral health, holiday stress can lead to grinding or clenching of your teeth. That’s just one more reason stress management should be an integral part of your overall health plan.
The holiday season brings with it many delights, and as your Kansas City family dentist, we don’t want you to miss a single one. As you enjoy the holidays, keep these myths in mind, and you’ll help to ensure that your oral health stays on track, even amidst all the snacks and celebrations.
Here at Blacker Family Dental in Kansas City, we’re here to support your healthy smiles so you can enjoy every festive moment with confidence. If you need an appointment now or in the new year, give us a call at (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment. Happy Holidays!