How to Stay Out of the Dentist’s Office After The Holidays

Learn How To Protect Your Teeth During the Holiday Season with Tulsa Dental Center

The holidays are packed full of family, food, friends, tradition, and candy. Starting in late October, we consume as much sugary, chewy candy as we can, and it doesn’t stop until after the new year (if it stops at all). With all of the holiday parties and festivities, watching what you eat is nearly impossible, and eating candy is part of the holiday experience. 

Waxy orange and yellow candy corn reminds us of fall, and peppermint candy canes are strictly a Christmas treat. Whether you’re eating candy for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, your teeth are under attack by the sugary treats we love so much. 

Candy provides a sugar rush and tastes amazing, but it is bad for your teeth. The issue starts slowly but when the damage is done to your teeth, it is permanent unless fixed by a dentist. By that time, the dentist might have to fill any cavities or perform a root canal or extraction. But that can be prevented. We’re going to explore what you can do to help you and your children enjoy the holiday season while focusing on the health and proper care of your teeth.

Hot Cocoa and Christmas cookies and marshmallows

How Do Cavities Appear?

Tooth decay leads to cavities. The decay permanently damages an area, resulting in tiny holes on the tooth. Candy is packed full of sugar, and cavities love sugar. Cavities aren’t created by sugar, but sugar creates the perfect condition in your mouth that cavities love. 

The mouth is full of bacteria, good and bad. When you eat candy, the harmful bacteria feeds off of the sugar which creates acid that can erode tooth enamel. If a cavity is left untreated, it only gets worse and worse and sometimes the tooth needs to be removed. Once the decay has started you can’t reverse it, but dentists use preventative measures to help save the tooth from further damage.  

What Candy is the Worst for Teeth?

The answer is unquestionably chewy, sticky candy. Not all candy is bad for you, but chewy, sticky candy is No.1 on the list, and that includes gummies and taffy. Chewy candy can get stuck between your teeth, making it impossible for saliva to break down the candy. The candy then stays between the teeth for a while, causing decay. Hard, sticky candy like Jolly Ranchers and chewy candy like Skittles are two of the worst because of the highly-acidic nature of the candy. The acid in the candy breaks down tooth enamel on its own. 

Whether it’s leftover Halloween candy or treats from a Christmas party, it’s impossible to keep everyone out of the candy during the holidays. However, not all candy is “bad,” and there are ways to minimize its impact on your oral health.

How Can You Help Prevent Tooth Decay While Eating Candy?

There are some ways to slow down the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Here are some suggestions for keeping your teeth healthy during the holidays. 

Remember To Brush

Dentists constantly tell their clients to brush their teeth after each meal, but that also includes eating candy. Even though it’s not a full meal, brushing your teeth immediately after eating candy removes enamel-damaging bacteria. However, the same rules don’t apply for acidic candy. Brushing after eating acidic candy can do more damage to tooth enamel than not brushing. So, be careful when you brush your teeth after eating acidic candy. Some people wait for around 30 minutes before they brush. 

Eat Candy With Meals

When candy is eaten after or during a meal, it’s best for oral health. When eating a meal, saliva production increases which eliminates acids while washing away food particles.

Drink Water After Eating Candy

Water can be quite an equalizer. When drinking water after eating candy, you can minimize some of the harmful effects of sugar, and it can help prevent tooth decay. If your children can’t brush their teeth after eating candy, have them swish water in their mouths to break loose any food particles while minimizing the potential damage from the bacteria.  

Dental Checkups Are Important

Never skip or put off a dental checkup. Make sure you schedule an appointment with Tulsa Dental Center for you and your child’s next cleaning. 

Scheduling an appointment with Tulsa Dental Center is easy. Call us at 918-445-2948 or email us at info@tulsadentalcenter.com. We are located at 4824 S. Union Ave., Tulsa, OK 74107.

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