The holiday season has finally arrived and with it comes all those wonderful family get-togethers, terrific meals, cakes, cookies, and pies. Even with COVD-19 in the picture this year, everyone is still planning to enjoy all the delicious meals ahead. Unfortunately, your body, including your teeth and gums may not be as excited as you are. This sudden nutritional change can put you and your dental health under serious stress.
friends enjoying a bbq together

How Does a Change in Diet Affect Your Oral Health?

The food and drinks you consume can affect your entire body such as your waistline and your oral health. Although food is essential for living, not all food has the best impact on your oral health. It’s also not just the nutritional value of the food, but also the form of the food that affects your teeth and gums differently.

There are several factors in your food that can impact your oral health.

  • Form of food – Liquid, sticky, solid, or slow to dissolve food each affect your teeth and gums differently. Solid food is the best for your teeth while liquid, sticky, and slow to dissolve have a harsher effect.
  • How often you consume high amounts of sugary or acidic foods and drinks – The more often you consume sugary and acidic foods and drinks, the more damage that can occur to your teeth and gums.
  • Nutrients in foods – The amount of carbohydrates, sugars, and other nutrients play a significant role in how it will affect your teeth.
  • Combination of foods – Combining certain foods together can also have an impact.
  • Order in which you eat – Eating foods in certain orders can either help or hurt your teeth.
  • Medical conditions you have – If you experience gastrointestinal reflux or other eating disorders, it can weaken your teeth and increase your risk of cavities.

Changing a well-balanced diet to a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars can increase the number of bacteria in your mouth that can later weaken your enamel and lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

What Types of Foods and Drinks are Bad For My Oral Health?

There are so many delicious treats to enjoy during the holiday season but the key is to enjoy them with moderation. If you’re really concerned about your oral health, the following food and drinks are the most dangerous.

  • Hard or Sticky Candies – These contain high amounts of sugar that coat and stick to your teeth for hours to come. If you want a sweet treat, consider chocolate or something that dissolves quickly in your mouth instead. If you really want a candy cane, brush your teeth after eating it.
  • Baked Goods – Another holiday favorite. Foods high in carbohydrates and sugar are the perfect recipe for plaque and cavities. Consider using less sugar in your recipes and using whole grains instead.
  • Sugary Drinks – Eggnog, sweetened coffee and tea, soda, lemonade, juice, hot chocolate, cocktails, and wine are just some of the drinks that can coat your teeth in sugar and harm the enamel with their high acidic content. If possible, sip your sugary drink through a straw to have less impact on your teeth.

If you do indulge in these holiday treats, just make sure to rinse your mouth with water after consuming, or even better, brush your teeth! You can also add mouthwash to your routine too for extra care.

What Type of Food Should I Eat to Prevent Cavities?

The key is nutritional balance. The real problem is the constant bombardment of sugars and starches in the mouth that combine to fuel the plaque-producing bacteria that attack your tooth enamel. Saliva, your natural bacteria cleanser, becomes overwhelmed, and the plaque takes up permanent residence. Here are some helpful hints to get you through to the new year happy and healthy.

Along with all the holiday goodies, make sure you eat good amounts of green, orange, and yellow vegetables and fruits for their high vitamin A and D content. Your body will also give thanks for regular high-fiber breakfasts and snacks. Citrus fruits, yogurt, and other dairy products will provide plaque-fighting vitamins and minerals. Try to avoid constant sugary snacks, and don’t sip sugar-filled sodas for long periods of time.

The good news is that you can indulge in all the turkey and mashed potatoes you want. These won’t have a huge impact on your oral health since they’re not high in sugar. Our takeaway for the holidays is to enjoy sweets in moderation and your oral health should be good to go.

Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning in Wichita Falls

The key to keeping your oral health in good shape during the holidays is to eat treats in moderation, but also keeping up with your oral hygiene routine. Make sure to floss and brush twice a day and never skip a dental cleaning. Don’t let the holidays hurt your oral health. Schedule your next dental cleaning at StarImage Dentistry with a Wichita Falls dentist today by calling 940-322-2252.