Atlanta-based Dr. Frank Roach frequently offers tips and habits for keeping teeth clean in between visits to the dentist. Because the holidays are one of the most notorious times for eating sweets, he shares insightful advice on protecting tooth enamel and minimizing damage done to teeth by eating large amounts of sugar.
During the holidays, it’s common for people to put forth their best efforts in food preparation, especially in desserts that are high in sugar. Professional oral hygienists like Dr. Frank Roach understand that this time can be very tough on teeth and urge their patients to be extra vigilant and responsible about brushing routines.
“Families gather around the table during the holidays and don’t hold back on the servings,” says Dr. Frank Roach. “And the foods they eat are usually high in fat, in acid, and in sugar. This poses a particular problem for tooth enamel. Eating lots of food during the holidays without staying on top of brushing and flossing can leave a lot of people with permanent damage that may result in extra dental work when the New Year comes around.”
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that appears in the mouth when eating sugary foods and drinks. These bacteria ultimately produce acids after feeding on the sugar that dissolve and damage the teeth as well as its natural protective coating. After, bacterial infection created by acids cause cavities, which are holes in the teeth brought on by decay.
Once cavities appear, dental professionals like Dr. Frank Roach must drill out the tooth decay and fill in the hole with metal or porcelain fillings. However, Dr. Roach reminds readers that with the proper care, they can enjoy eating during the holidays without worry over damaging their teeth.
- Opt-in for Water as Often as You Can
Because the holidays are filled with so many fattening and sugary foods, it’s a wise idea to skip out on acidic or sugary drinks as often as you can. Even something sugar free like a diet soda or tea has acids that wear teeth down. Try drinking water at your meals and throughout the day to cut back on the amount of damage done to enamel.
- Brush Immediately After Eating
Much of the harm done to teeth from sugary and acidic foods can be minimized by reducing the amount of time these linger on teeth. This means brushing your teeth, and hopefully flossing, immediately after eating or drinking anything other than water.
- Share What You Have
It’s common for relatives to stop in with a surplus amount of cake, cookies, pastas, baked dishes, and other foods known to harm teeth in the long run. Create opportunities to share the food you’ve been given or any leftovers from big family get-togethers so there’s less temptation to finish it all on your own.
“With these tips, anyone can enjoy all there is to eat during the holidays without worrying about stripping their teeth of protective coating and racking up dental bills next year,” says Dr. Frank Roach.