4 Ways to Keep your Teeth Holiday Proof

Dr Greenberg Orthodontics | Blog | Holiday Tips

Dr Greenberg Orthodontics | Blog | Holiday Tips

Nut Crackers Exist for a Reason!

Those cute little bearded figurines aren’t just there to guard your mantle, they’re here to help you guard your teeth against tough nuts. No need to prove how macho your chompers are by shredding nutshells with them. Real nutcrackers are meant to do the job to help you avoid cracking teeth & damaging gums. If you see a tasty-looking bowl of nuts that haven’t been pre-shelled, find a nutcracker before digging in. This also goes for bottles & other packages, use the right tools for opening – not the ones in your mouth.

Yes to Carrots & Apples

Take after Rudolph & go for those carrots. This super strong veggie helps clean out your mouth & palate especially if you’re going in for seconds. The grainy texture of apples does the same & provides a refreshing taste. Your teeth will thank you!  Holidays are like the Olympics for our mouths, so it’s our job to stay on top of our oral health in order to eat like champs. Staying hydrated is also very important. If this season’s drinks get too sweet for you, water + fluoride helps keep your teeth strong & healthy…don’t have fluoride lying around your house? Just drink some water and stay away from the sugar for a while!

Extra Sticky = Icky

Keep your mouth pain-free & your dental fixtures safe by steering clear of extra sticky holiday foods. Things like taffy candy or dried cranberries force your teeth & jaws to work overtime. Sticky foods also tend to get rrreeeal comfy in your mouth, thus residing in there longer. We know they’re yummy… But letting a chewy candy dislodge a wire is never fun! We love seeing our patients, but prefer you avoid emergency care & maintain oral safety over the holidays by avoiding sticky candies.

Sugar Free Chewing Gum

As much as everyone says gum is bad for you, it’s not the case if it’s sugar free! As long as it doesn’t become a bad habit, sugar-free chewing gum actually fights against tooth decay. Especially on holidays & big family gatherings that make way for extra heavy meals, our mouths are going to need extra protection. The beauty of sugar-free chewing gum is that it stimulates more saliva to assist in flushing out bacteria. It also hunts & traps food particles that would otherwise build up & become plaque. Make the most of its benefit with 20 minutes of chewing after each holiday meal.

 

 

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Foods That Can Harm Enamel

 

Many people who are careful about brushing and flossing their teeth wonder how they still end up with cavities or tooth decay. Several factors affect wear and tear on tooth enamel. Diet is a major factor, with certain foods increasing the likelihood that your enamel will become discolored or decayed. Pay close attention to the foods you eat to keep your pearly whites looking healthy and clean.

 What Causes Enamel Damage?

Tooth enamel refers to the hard, semi-translucent, whitish part of the tooth that shows above your gums. The enamel is primarily composed of minerals that are strong but susceptible to highly acidic foods. When acid reacts with the minerals in enamel, tooth decay results. Strongly pigmented foods can also damage enamel by discoloring the surface of the tooth.

 Foods that Harm Enamel

Acidic foods are the greatest source of enamel damage. To determine whether a food is acidic, look up its pH. Scientists use pH, on a one-to-seven scale, to define the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Foods with low pH levels, between a one and three, are high in acidity and may damage your enamel. Foods with high pH levels, such as a six or seven, are far less likely to cause enamel harm.

So which foods should you avoid? Many fruits are high in acidity, including lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. The high sugar and acid content in soda makes it another huge contributor to enamel decay. Moderately acidic foods include pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, cottage cheese, maple syrup, yogurt, raisins, pickles, and honey. The foods that are least likely to cause enamel damage include milk, most cheeses, eggs, and water.

Beverages such as red wine and coffee also damage the enamel by discoloring it. Although stains do not necessarily undermine the integrity of your teeth, they can be unsightly.

 What Can I Do to Prevent Enamel Damage?

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to prevent your enamel from discoloring or decaying. The easiest way to avoid decay is to steer clear of high-acidity foods. This may not always be possible, but eliminating sugary fruit juices and soda from your diet is a good start. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing frequently also preserves your enamel. Another good idea is to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating to wash away high-acidity particles.

Although enamel damage is common, it does not have to be an inevitable occurrence. Knowing the foods that harm your teeth gives you the tools to prevent discoloration and decay. With some easy preventive measures, your teeth will stay strong and white for years to come.

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