Keep Your Sweet Tooth Jolly

December holidays are a sweet tooth’s dream but sugarplums, cookies, and gingerbread men can lead to January cavities if you aren’t mindful.

When you eat sweet treats and beverages, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and create acids. These acids then attack tooth enamel, making it susceptible to decay. The best way to avoid cavities is to practice good oral hygiene. Here’s a handful of tasty tips to help make your mouth merry.

Avoid sticky foods

Sticky delights like candy canes, marshmallows, and caramels sit by and wait for you to indulge. These tempting treats hold acid against teeth longer than non-sticky foods. Even nutritious options like raisins, dates, and dried fruits can damage teeth if you’re not teeth care aware.

Limit sugary snacks

Eat sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods as part of a balanced meal instead of by themselves. More saliva is produced to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack.

Choose chocolate

If you’re a chocoholic, it’s best to go dark. Chocolate noir is packed with flavonoids and compounds that help protect your heart. The truffles and bars with 60 percent or more real cocoa typically contain less sugar too. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are loaded with sugar and offer no health benefits. Avoid the cavity causing sugar and go for the higher cocoa content.

Rinse your mouth

If you aren’t able to brush your teeth right after you eat, at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to help wash away food particles. Rinsing with eggnog doesn’t count.

Chew gum

Chew sugar-free gum to wash away food bits and help neutralize acids in your mouth. Sugar-free gum satisfies your sweet tooth and helps keep you from over-indulging in other sweets treats. It also makes your breath super fresh for that special mistletoe moment.

Tuck a toothbrush

Your dental hygienist most likely awards you with a toothbrush and a travel-size toothpaste after your dental cleaning. Tuck them into your purse, backpack, or glove compartment so you can brush after eating at holiday parties. An added benefit is that once you’ve brushed, you’ll most likely not return to the dessert bar for a second helping.

Stuff a stocking

Tis the season for giving the gift of good oral health. Manual and electric toothbrushes, toothbrush covers, floss, toothpaste, and sugar-free gum make fantastic stocking stuffers.

Make time to brush and floss

Holiday parties are lots of fun but they can also be exhausting. Make brushing and flossing the first thing you do instead of the last. Floss first, then brush for the recommended two minutes before you nestle all snug in your bed.

How do you keep your teeth healthy during the holiday season? Add your tips to the comments below.