As the holidays approach, favorite holiday foods and treats are already on the shelves. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to those delicious treats, so instead, try using some of these tips to limit the amount of harm done to your teeth during the holidays.
• Limit the frequency of sweets
The frequency of sweets is more important than the quantity when cavities are concerned. Instead of having treats throughout the day it’s better to have them at one time. If possible, have sweets after a meal and then brush immediately … no snacking between meal times!
• Children with crowns (caps) on their teeth need to be especially careful with sweets.
Sticky sweets can lift the metal crowns off the tooth, and hard foods and candy can cause the tooth colored crowns to chip and break.
• Starchy foods can also decay teeth
The bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities can also use starchy foods, like bread, potatoes, and rice to make cavities. These foods should be treated like ‘sweet’ foods when considering oral hygiene.
• Fruit juices are also considered sweets
In addition to sugar, juices also contain acids that erode the enamel of the tooth and make it easier to form cavities. Try diluting fruit juice with half water and/or drink a glass of water after drinking juice to rinse away some of the sugar and acids.
• Try to brush after eating
If it is not possible to brush, chew sugar-free gum, preferably with Xylitol, or in the very least drink/rinse with water
Try some of these tips and enjoy some sweets during the holidays, as well as the rest of the year while protecting your teeth.
Dr Sara Ok
T32 Junior Dental Centre
One Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre (17th Floor)
Tel: (65) 6733 1388
This article was first published in The New Age Parents online magazine Dec/Jan 2013 issue.