With Christmas almost upon us, it is a virtual certainty that chocolates and candies will be staple consumption as part of the festivities. Whether you’re given a huge Toblerone bar, a box of Favourites is brought to a barbecue party, or you’re snacking on the final days of the Advent Calendar, you will taste these sweet treats in one form or another. This can be a real problem for your oral hygiene (as sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your teeth, leading to tooth decay) unless you know how to take care of your teeth during this time. To avoid this dentist’s worst nightmare, this is part one of our oral hygiene tips for the upcoming holiday season.
The Best Sweets to Eat
Not everyone likes dark chocolate but out of all the sugary foods this holiday season, it’s probably your best bet. Any kind of chocolate washes off your teeth relatively easily; it dissolves in your mouth (in saliva or other liquids) and can be removed with a toothbrush no problem. Dark chocolate has the added bonus of containing less sugar than milk or white chocolate.
Candy Bars with Nuts
Nuts change the texture of the candy bar so that it won’t be so sticky in your teeth. Also, they can help reduce the amount of biofilm on your teeth. Having said that, be mindful of how you chew on these types of bars as nuts can get trapped between your teeth or, if you’re really unlucky, they may even damage your oral soft tissue (such as your gums) in the short-term
Biscuits and Cookies
Like chocolate, biscuits and cookies wash off your teeth quite easily. They don’t dissolve as readily as chocolate but they break down and crumble effectively enough that rinsing your mouth and brushing your teeth after eating will help remove any remains in your mouth. If the biscuits or cookies are made out of an alternative to sugar, even better!
Candy floss dissolves very easily. The downside is that they are made purely of sugar so you should definitely brush your teeth after eating.
The Worst Sweets to Eat
Now we’re getting into the categories of sweets that are definitely the worst to eat. We’re talking about gummy bears, toffees, etc., as well as any other candy that may take a long time to eat (e.g. candy canes or lollipops). The longer these candies stay in your mouth, the worse it will be. This is because your teeth will be exposed, for a long period, to sugars and acids which feed the bacteria in your mouth to create cavities. This is especially true if they get stuck in hard-to-reach areas like the back of your mouth or in between teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. If you eat these lollies, it would be best to brush and floss your teeth after consumption.
Hard candies are terrible for your teeth as they can break or split your teeth if you’re not careful. Your teeth can only handle so much biting pressure before they give way, and if you bite them at a weird angle, they can split the tooth vertically which will lead to extraction. If the hard candy is hard because it takes a long time to dissolve in your mouth, see the above section as to what to do afterwards.
Sour sweets are highly acidic. If they’re also sticky and coated in sugar, they are the absolute worst sweets to eat. The combination of acid and sugar over a long period of time can do a lot of damage to your teeth. Try to stay away from these as much as possible. If you do eat them, brush your teeth but only half an hour to an hour after eating. This is because the acid would have weakened the enamel around your teeth so if you brushed right after eating, you’d be damaging your enamel further. It is best to rinse your mouth with water as soon as you’ve eaten these sour candies, then brush and floss your teeth later.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog post where we discuss further things to avoid, as well as preventative measures you can adopt, to help you keep smiling throughout this holiday season!