THE HOLIDAYS ARE approaching, and that means it’s time to shop for treats and presents for the people we love! Often times, these treats aren’t the healthiest choices for our teeth, which is why we’ve put together some suggestions for more dental-friendly goodies to stuff in those stockings — as well as some things to avoid.
Stocking Stuffer No-Nos
Everyone gets a sweet tooth around the holidays, even Santa! However, an abundance of Christmas candy and sugary treats isn’t healthy for your teeth. When shopping for stocking stuffers this year, you may want to avoid things like chewy candy, hard candy, sour candy and sticky foods.
Anything hard, sticky, or sour is going to be bad for your teeth. Hard candy takes a while to dissolve, which means your teeth are exposed to sugar for a long time. Hard candy could also cause chips or fractures in teeth.Sticky candy is like breakfast in bed for bacteria, adhering to the teeth and pushing the sugar right up against the enamel and gum tissue. Sour candy contains acid as well as sugar, so it’s doubly bad for teeth.
The Dentist’s Picks
Not all candy is awful for oral health. Chocolate is on the good end of the oral health spectrum, and the darker, the better. Chocolate contains flavonoids and polyphenols, compounds that limit oral bacteria, fight bad breath, and slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate has more of these compounds and their benefits are less offset by sugar than in sweeter milk chocolate.
The best candy option for your teeth, unsurprisingly, is sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol. Other types of candy that use xylitol aren’t very common (yet), so you might not find much of it, but xylitol gum is a great sweet treat to add to the stocking. Xylitol not only doesn’t feed oral bacteria, it actually hurts it!
Of course, another option would be to avoid edible stocking stuffers altogether. If you’re looking for an idea for a little one in your family, a character toothbrush would be a great idea. Character toothbrushes can help children get excited about brushing their teeth and help make their oral-health routine more fun. Electric toothbrushes could be a great gift for your older children and even adults. If you have a tech-savvy person in your family, there are electric toothbrushes that have Bluetooth capability. A few other dental-friendly stocking stuffers include fun toothbrush holders, floss, or a certificate for a professional-strength whitening kit from the dentist. We are also in favor of small toys and games that will take your children’s minds completely off their sweet tooth cravings.
Wishing All Our Patients A Happy, Healthy Holiday Season!
No matter what goes in those stockings, don’t forget to keep up with all those good brushing and flossing habits through the holiday season. We look forward to seeing you at your next cleaning appointments! Call and schedule your appointment with us today!
Thank you for being part of our Oak Ridge Dental Arts family!