The winter holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a slew of seasonal treats that make our taste buds sing – and our teeth sting! Unfortunately, some of our favorite holiday foods can wreak havoc on our teeth. Below, we cover some holiday treats that are terrible for teeth.
Peanut brittle has one redeeming quality: peanuts. Outside of that single ingredient, peanut brittle is painfully unhealthy. It contains: sugar, corn syrup, and butter, all of which are unhealthy for your body in different ways. But, peanut brittle becomes terrible for your teeth once all of those ingredients are combined into the final product. After it’s made, peanut brittle turns into a hard, sticky candy that can do some serious damage to teeth. If you do eat peanut brittle this holiday season, make sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with cool water afterwards to remove as much food debris as possible.
This winter, you’ll see gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, gingerbread lattes, gingerbread castles…really, there’s no end to gingerbread-ing things. Unfortunately, gingerbread is loaded with sugar and starchy carbs, which can lead to cavities. Gingerbread’s consistency is what makes it so harmful to teeth, because it can easily stick to teeth. When this happens, the starch in gingerbread slowly turns into sugar, which fuels bad bacteria and leads to cavities. Additionally, when bad bacteria stick to teeth, it can turn into plaque, and the bacteria in the plaque can easily turn into acid. This acid attacks enamel, and can erode teeth, leading to tooth decay and potential tooth loss.
It’s probably a good thing that eggnog only comes around once per year, since it has almost zero nutritional value. This spiced holiday favorite is packed with sugar, fat, cholesterol and carbs. Although it does have some protein, it is not significant enough to outweigh the negative nutritional traits of the drink. In fact, the recommended serving for eggnog is just ¼ cup, and if you drank a regular-sized serving of eggnog (1 cup), then it would take you 90 minutes of walking, or 40 minutes of jogging to burn all of the calories from eggnog.
Eggnog is bad for your teeth because of the high amount of sugar it contains – which is about the same amount as a leading can of soda. It is also incredibly thick, and can coat teeth after you’re done drinking. If you must drink eggnog this season, limit your portions and rinse out your mouth after you’re done.
Sadly, candy canes make our list of food to avoid this holiday season, because they’re basically 100% sugar. In addition to their high amount of sugar, candy canes are hard candies which can cause teeth to chip or break, if chewed too vigorously. Hard candies also dissolve more slowly, allowing bad bacteria longer access to the sugar they need to survive and cause havoc.
Remember Oral Hygiene this Holiday Season
The holidays are a busy time of year that diverts our attention from away daily routines, which can cause some of us to neglect our teeth. Remember to brush twice daily, and floss once per day this holiday season to keep cavities at bay. We hope that you have a happy and safe holiday season, and enjoy spending time with your family this year!