In Hawai‘i, everyone loves to spoil their loved ones with sweet treats during the holidays. It’s okay to indulge in a treat or two, but don’t forget the toll it takes on your teeth and gums. Here are some oral health tips when eating common holiday sweets:
❉ Arare (mochi crunch), candy canes and other hard candy: You’re putting your teeth at risk for decay when you let snacks dissolve in your mouth. And crunching on them could crack your teeth. Swap out hard candies for dark chocolate instead, which has less sugar and dissolves quickly.
❉ Pies, cakes and cookies: You’ve probably been waiting all year for that pumpkin crunch cake or custard pie, but moderation is key when it comes to these baked goods. Also, save yourself the toothache and scrape off the icing or sweet toppings before you eat them.
❉ Hot chocolate, eggnog or hot apple cider: These classic holiday drinks are full of sugar. Try your best to eliminate extra additions like marshmallows, alcohol or extra syrup that may harm your teeth or dry out your mouth.
❉ Mochi, caramels and other sticky sweets: Sticky sweets stay on your teeth longer, and their sugar and acids can break down enamel throughout the day. Brushing and flossing every time after eating them will save you an extra trip to the dentist.
Go ahead and enjoy some sweet holiday decadence, but be sure to balance that out with crunchy fruits and veggies (carrots are a particularly great choice) and whole grains. Dentists also recommended drinking water immediately after eating to help wash sugars and acids from teeth.
Be sure to discuss any changes in diet as well as other medical conditions with your physician and dentist. For healthier teeth, gums and total body health, a solid routine of brushing twice a day, flossing daily and seeing your dentist twice a year will ultimately help you live well and smile more at every age.