The holiday season, which begins on Halloween and ends on New Year’s Day, is a happy, carefree time of the year when people let loose of their inhibitions and enjoy time with their loved ones. Sweet treats and drinks often become a part of these holiday celebrations. This is bad news for your oral health. Many traditional holiday drinks are full of acid and sugars that wreak havoc on your teeth.
Is it possible to make it through the holidays without indulging in these tasty drinks? Anything is possible, though most people would rather indulge and enjoy themselves. Moderation and knowledge are important keys to enjoying the holidays without major sacrifices.
Tips to Reduce Cavities & Oral Health Issues During the Holidays
Keep the following tips in mind, so the holiday drinks you love can continue to be a part of your traditions.
● Use a fluoride mouth rinse to flush out any bacteria left on the teeth after consuming a holiday drink.
● Drink an 8-oz glass of water after drinking eggnog or other alcoholic or sugar-ridden beverages.
● Limit yourself. Moderation is the key to enjoying holiday drinks without damaging teeth.
● Carry a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste with you to parties and events. Sneak into the bathroom to clean the teeth (and freshen your breath!)
The Do Not Consume Holiday Drink List
If your dentist had his way, many holiday favorites wouldn’t be on your drink list at all. These drinks contain dairy, sugar, and/or alcohol that’s destructive to the teeth. Drinks on the dentists ‘do not drink’ list include:
Bourbon is eggnog’s bestie, but it’s your mouth’s enemy. Bourbon dries the mouth. This creates a prime environment for bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Citrus Fruits & Juices
Citrus fruits and juices benefit your general health, but not the case for your dental health. Citrus fruit drinks are a big part of many holiday celebrations. They’re tasty when blended into a delicious Margarita or other favorite beverages, like a tasty tea. Oranges and limes erode tooth enamel. The acids in citrus drinks also cause increased tooth sensitivity and pain.
Although not a holiday-specific drink, coffee is also on the ‘minimalist’ list. Holidays increase stress levels, and many people don’t get enough sleep. They drink more coffee to stay awake, focused, and energized. Caffeinated drinks increase the mouth’s salivary flow, leaving more sugar and food to breed on the teeth and gums.
Consuming large amounts of red or white wine damages the teeth. Red wine may stain the teeth while white wine causes stains to become more prominent.
Eggnog is one of those Christmas traditions people have enjoyed for decades. It’s also one of the worst for your teeth because it contains sugar, alcohol, and dairy. Dairy proteins quickly form into odorous sulfur compounds caused by oral bacteria. Sugar feeds the bacteria, causes dry mouth, and increased tooth decay risk. Is drinking eggnog worth the risks it causes your dental health?
Kids love hot chocolate as much as an adult on a cold winter morning. But, hot chocolate has a high sugar content that increases the risk of tooth decay and high dairy content that may cause bad breath.