When you’re thinking about foods to avoid during the holidays, you’re likely focusing on calories — and neglecting to think about your teeth. But many holiday foods are absolute nightmares for your pearly whites and if you’re not careful, you could leave the season with stained teeth and gnarly cavities.
The reckless consumption of cakes, candies, pies, beverages (alcoholic and otherwise), meats, and sides carries with it a number of potential health risks — and some of these are dental, because many of these sweet and savory delights can do some serious damage to our teeth. The mixture of sticky candies, sugary sweets, and acidic alcohols and sodas is something out of a dentist’s nightmare. By knowing which foods to eat in moderation, or at least to chew carefully, you can avoid that emergency crown replacement and protect yourself from cavities.
The Daily Meal asked 11 dentists and dental professionals to give us their lists of holiday foods and beverages they won’t touch. There was a general consensus among all of these dental professionals that sugar, acids, alcohol, and sticky foods can do the most damage to your teeth and gums. Acidic foods like citrus, sour candies, or tea can wear away tooth enamel and lead to greater tooth sensitivity and a higher risk of fracture; beverages like eggnog contain the “triple threat” of sugar, alcohol, and dairy.
Also worth noting is that some foods affect certain age groups differently. Adults need to worry about fracturing a crown or a bridge, but they are less likely to suffer from tooth decay than someone under the age of 18. But regardless of your age, there are some foods of which dentists advise you just steer completely clear.
Michael Serrur also contributed to this story.