Healthy teeth at Christmas

Five festive fiends

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Unless you’re a tooth, in which case the festive season can be a challenging time. No one likes a Grinch, but for the sake of your teeth, here are five seasonal snacks you may want to enjoy with caution this Christmas:

1. Mince pies

We agree that mince pies are an integral and delicious part of Christmas. However, dried fruit is not only packed full of sugar, it’s also sticky, so it can cling to your teeth long after you’ve indulged.

When sugar is left on your teeth for prolonged periods of time it feeds the harmful bacteria that cause plaque – helping them to grow faster. If plaque isn’t removed – through brushing or your own saliva – it creates acid, which overtime dissolves your enamel and can eventually create a cavity.

2. Candy canes

We’ll be honest…candy canes are an orthodontist’s nightmare. They’re sugary, sticky AND they break braces *shudder*. Our advice: steer clear! Why not opt for some dark chocolate as a sweet but slightly less hazardous alternative?

3. Advent calendar chocolate

We actually quite like a traditional calendar with pictures, but we also see the appeal of a chocolate a day throughout December (who wouldn’t?). Just make sure your calendar isn’t the first thing you reach for in the morning. The best time to enjoy your tiny chocolate is with a meal.

Little and often is not a good approach when it comes to sugar and it can subject your teeth to seemingly constant sugar attacks. Instead, give your teeth a break by saving sugary treats for mealtimes – and wait for at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.

4. Mulled wine

Mulled wine is the culprit of not one, but two dental hazards: acid erosion and staining. It’s wonderfully warming, but also highly acidic – so sip with caution. To limit the damage of mulled wine and other acidic drinks, try using a straw so it bypasses your front teeth. Afterwards, you can help to rinse the acid off your teeth with a glass of water or mouthwash.

5. Satsumas

As festive foes go, satsumas aren’t top of our list (see candy canes!). But, despite providing a good source of fibre and vitamins, they are super sweet and highly acidic. So while there are worse things you could find at the bottom of your stocking, it doesn’t hurt to be a bit careful about when you enjoy your humble satsuma or clementine.

Like most of the other fiends on our list, satsumas are best enjoyed as part of a meal. They’ll wreak less havoc on your smile and they might even stop you wanting that extra mince pie (or not – it is Christmas after all!)

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