Treats and Teeth Can Share the Holiday Season

Holiday parties are a time for watching the treats—but you don’t have to watch them go by while trying to ignore them. “Treats are just that—an occasional indulgence that you don’t have to run from,” says Dr. Ford from her cosmetic dentistry office. “But there are some treats that are safer than others, and some that you have to watch out for,” she adds.

Candy isn’t the worst treat, oddly enough. Of course, bathing your teeth in sugar isn’t the best idea, but an occasional piece of candy isn’t a problem, particularly if you rinse your mouth afterwards and brush soon after.

Dental_CareThe biggest tooth dangers are those that can shatter a tooth, chip a veneer or harm a crown:

1. Ice. It’s both cold and hard, and that’s a bad combination for your teeth. “Chewing on ice, pens, pencils, and bobby pins can cause wear and tear on the tooth and enamel surfaces covering the tooth. If your teeth are worn or chipped already, the ice can crack and damage the tooth structure,” says Dr.Robert Sorin, DDS, clinical instructor, department of dentistry and oral surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

2. Soft drinks, even sugar-free ones. “They bathe your teeth in an acid environment,” says Dr. Ford, “and that means etching and tooth erosion,” she adds. If you drink a soda, rinse your mouth out with water right afterwards. It’s a way to minimize the damage.

3. Alcoholic drinks. Alcohol, even wine, has a hidden drawback—it dries out your mouth. And a reduced saliva production gives the bacteria in your mouth a chance to grow and multiply, damaging your teeth and gums.

You don’t have to hide from holiday goodies, but a bit of common sense will help you keep your smile bright and intact.

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