We’re in the middle of holiday season already, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t stop to think about your oral health.

However, we understand that this may not be the time you want to devote to thinking about health. After all, this season is all about giving, both to others and to yourself. It’s a time to indulge in the things we normally wouldn’t throughout the year, like cookies, candies, and eggnog.

Taking care of your oral health does not mean you can’t consume these goodies this season, or ever. Like everything in life, moderation is key, and just simply being aware of the foods you should moderate will make caring for your teeth a whole lot easier in the near future.

Here are some foods that dentists and dental hygienists recommend that you keep an eye on:

  1. Alcohol, like in eggnog or wine
    It’s easy to drink more alcoholic beverages this season, between the parties, family gatherings, and general holiday cheer (or stress). But alcoholic drinks aren’t only damaging to your body, they can also wreak havoc on your teeth.

    Red wine can stain your enamel, and its acidity can also weaken it. You may have read reports that red wine is good for your health, but again, in moderation! Consider brushing your teeth after a glass or two of red wine.

    Additionally, alcohol can cause dry mouth, which isn’t good for saliva creation. This could lead to tooth decay and gum diseases. The sugars in alcoholic drinks are also bad for your teeth, so take care with your intake!

  2. Candies, especially candy cane
    These sweet treats may taste delicious, but their high sugar content is rough for your teeth and can cause cavities. What’s more, the hard texture of popular sweets like candy canes aren’t good for keeping your teeth healthy.

    A candy cane here and there is probably fine, especially if you already have good, strong teeth, but the intense crunch can potentially weaken your enamel and cause a tooth fracture, and the little pieces it breaks into may scratch the inside of your mouth, like your gums.

  3. Hot chocolate
    The cold season is a popular time to heat up a mug of steaming hot chocolate and sip it by the fireplace. No doubt it is delicious and maybe even relaxing.

    However, consider keeping your consumption of chocolate to a minimum, as the sugar content in those instant hot chocolate packs can be quite high. Try something different this season, and go for a darker cocoa with low sugar content, which is better for your overall and oral health.

  4. Cranberry sauce
    Homemade cranberry sauce can be absolutely delicious, and it makes a great topping for a lot of different foods like turkey or ham.

    But, be wary of popular cranberry sauce recipes or canned sauce as, of course, the sugar content can be very high. Try making your own without using as much sugar, and if the recipe calls for citrus zest or juice, try using less of that too. Citric acid, if it has the chance to sit on your teeth for a while, can erode enamel over time.

The key to enjoying holiday foods is to monitor your eating habits, but also keep your good oral cleaning habits, too. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, 2 minutes at a time, and use floss at least once a day. A lot of foods can sneak in between your teeth, especially those delicious sauces like gravy and molasses.

We recommend getting a deep clean or fluoride treatment before the onset of holiday eating, and after to maintain, or maybe even enhance, your oral health. And while you’re with your dental hygienist, ask them for advice on keeping your teeth healthy through the season.

Our Long Beach, CA dental office has helped hundreds of patients and their families maintain good health and achieve amazing smiles. Come in and let us help you take care of your teeth. Book online today, or call us at 562-434-6414.