3 Ways to Prevent Cavities this Holiday Season

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Prevent Cavities this Holiday Season

If you have your two front teeth, you won’t be asking for them for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your teeth out of your Christmas wishes! Your teeth endure a lot in order to keep chomping away for you, and even if you do your best at preventative dental care, the holidays can be extra tough on teeth.

Here are a few tips for how to prevent cavities this holiday season, so that your smile will continue to look its best even after all the family photos are taken:

Limit Exposure to Cavity-Causing Bacteria

Every time you eat something sweet or starchy, the bacteria in your mouth start producing acids that will eat away at your tooth enamel and cause cavities if left untreated. The longer the food is on your teeth, the longer the acid will continue to be produced, so your first approach to good dental health is paying attention to what you eat.

  • Limit sweet and sticky foods. One of the worst types of food to eat is something that’s sweet, chewy, and sticky, as it will stick to your teeth long after you think you’ve finished eating it. For example, caramels and chocolates are sticky treats that you’ll see a lot of this holiday season. It’s all too tempting to indulge, but try to limit how much of this kind of treat you eat, especially between meals.
  • Avoid hard candy. Hard candy such as candy canes are another popular seasonal treat, but they are notoriously bad for your teeth because of how long it takes to eat them. It can take hours to finish a candy cane, which means hours of those acids attacking your tooth enamel.
  • Resist the urge to graze. Especially at big holiday get-togethers, meals tend to be long and drawn-out, and snacks are typically available throughout the day. Try to save your appetite for the big meal.
  • Don’t overlook starchy foods. We tend to think about sugary foods as being the main culprit because of how they stick to teeth, but starchy foods are just as bad! The typical holiday feast includes a lot of starchy foods! Keep this in mind as you fill your plate.

Eat Dessert with the Meal

Who wants to avoid holiday treats completely? If you’re wondering how to prevent cavities while still enjoying all the good food, there is a way. It might sound counter-intuitive, but eating your dessert with the meal can actually be better for your teeth. That’s partly because you’re limiting the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the acids produced when you eat sugary foods, but it’s also in a large part because the other foods you’re eating can be protective.

Eating or drinking something less dangerous to your teeth helps to clear away anything sweet or starchy that would otherwise stick to your teeth and stay there. Some can even act as a base to neutralize the acid! For instance, Science Daily reports that that eating cheese has been found to promote healthy teeth, most likely because the cheese sticks to your teeth and forms a lasting base that protects from acid.

Clean Your Teeth More Often

Of course, if you’re wondering how to keep teeth healthy this holiday season, your best line of defense is to brush them more often. This way you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in holiday treats, even if you wouldn’t normally eat them. Don’t rush off to the bathroom to brush as soon as you finish eating, though. Instead, have a drink of water and wait about half an hour to give your saliva a chance to bring the acidity levels down. Studies have found that brushing your teeth too soon, while the acid on your teeth is still active, causes wear to the enamel. The only exception is if you’ve eaten something sticky, as getting it off your teeth as soon as possible is more important.

How to Prevent Cavities and Enjoy Your Holidays, Too

Knowing how to prevent cavities doesn’t mean you’ll always want to follow the advice to the letter. You can actually treat yourself on occasion and still have healthy teeth if you take good care of them. You should schedule a dental cleaning twice a year. One of the best times to see your dentist is following the holidays. At Dr. Ferullo, one of our hygienists can remove any plaque that has built up during holiday indulgence, plus you may find it easier to schedule appointments for the entire family over the holiday break. Call Dr. Ferullo today for the best family dentistry in St. Petersburg, and start the new year with clean teeth!

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