Christmas foods and tipples to avoid with braces
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – friends, family, and, most importantly, delicious food! Thankfully, braces won’t stop you from enjoying a very merry Christmas, but you might want to avoid or cut back on a few festive fiends to keep your smile sparkling.
Candy canes and toffee pennies
Unfortunately, candy canes and toffee pennies are the embodiment of everything you should steer clear of while wearing fixed braces. Anything hard, chewy and sticky could damage your archwire or take off a bracket.
Even if you’re wearing Invisalign, and you can remove your aligners to enjoy your candy cane, they’re still best avoided. Their sticky nature means they’ll cling to your teeth, and repeated and prolonged exposure can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you’re over 18, you might be looking forward to your first glass of mulled wine – aka Christmas in a glass. Unfortunately, mulled wine is a triple threat to your teeth: sugary, acidic and pigmented.
The worst thing you can do is sip mulled wine over long periods. Your teeth will constantly be under attack from the sugar and acids, and your saliva won’t have a chance to neutralise them.
Instead, enjoy a glass of mulled wine with a meal, and rinse your mouth with water afterwards to help wash away any lingering sugars or acids.
Tubs of chocolates
Chocolate coins, Roses and Quality Street are in ready supply throughout December. Chocolate is a little kinder to your teeth compared to chewy sweets in that it’s less likely to stick to your teeth.
However, chocolate is still high in sugar, so best saved for mealtimes. It’s less about how much you eat and more about how often you eat it – at least where your teeth are concerned.
Again, it’s always good to give your mouth a rinse with water after eating sweet things. The acids created from sugary foods will soften your enamel, so wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Tangerines and clementines
Citrus fruits provide a healthier alternative to chocolate (and they’re a great stocking filler). However, they’re highly acidic, so they can erode your enamel leaving your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Common signs of dental erosion include sensitivity, discolouration and transparency.
To limit their damage, tangerines and clementines are best-enjoyed whole and with meals. To avoid prolonged contact with your teeth, never suck on citrus fruits and if you’re drinking juice, use a straw.
Cheese, glorious cheese
One thing you won’t need to sidestep this Christmas is cheese. Cheese is loved by dentists and patients alike. It’s high in calcium and phosphorus, stimulates saliva flow and helps to buffer the acids formed in plaque. Cheese is the perfect chaser for more sugary or acidic festive foods. Enjoy!
Merry Christmas from everyone here at Splash Orthodontics.