December 7, 2023
There are few finer times to enjoy a festive beverage with family and friends than the holidays. These special times of year are made to bring people together to remember old times, celebrate the present, and make new memories. However, it’s important to watch out for your teeth when you’re enjoying a traditional drink with your loved ones. Here are three customary holiday libations that can be harsh on your teeth and a few tips to keep your smile as white and pretty as holiday snow.
Red Wine Can Stain Your Teeth
Few beverages pair as well with a nice red meat dish as red wine. Since ancient times, this spirit has been renowned for its sharp bite, robust flavor, and rich, dark color. While these attributes make it a fine drink for commemorating a special occasion, they can also take a toll on your teeth. Red wine is high in acid, which gives it its bite, and pigments, which gives it its color. As soon as the wine makes contact with your teeth, the acid begins weakening the hard enamel layer. This makes it easier for the pigments to bind with your teeth. This can lead to stains and discoloration.
To make matters worse, pigments can get caught in plaque clinging to your teeth, which makes it easier for stains to set in. If you consume wine too much without practicing proper oral hygiene, your smile may eventually begin to develop a purplish shade.
Hot Chocolate Has Lots of Sugar
Hot chocolate can be a delightful winter beverage for people of all ages. It has a rich texture, a sweet, robust taste, and it’s warm enough to warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Sadly, drinking hot chocolate coats your mouth in a sugary residue that feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. The dairy ingredients in hot chocolate can also cause bad breath by forming sulfur compounds if they are allowed to linger in the mouth. Enjoy this beverage in moderation.
Eggnog Has Acid, Sugar, and Dairy
Eggnog is a celebrated yuletide beverage, but it can be a triple threat to your oral health. Eggnog contains alcohol, which is acidic and can weaken your enamel. It’s also rich in sugar, which feeds the harmful bacteria that cause oral infections. Its dairy ingredients can cause bad breath. Because it has all these things together, eggnog is reviled by dentists across the country.
While you’re probably going to enjoy some of these beverages during the holiday season, it’s important to enjoy them in moderation and attend to proper oral hygiene beforehand and afterward. It’s also smart to drink water alongside them, as it will help flush their residues away from your mouth and promote a healthy flow of saliva. If you protect your teeth during the holidays, you can start the new year with a pretty and healthy smile.
About the Author
Dr. Bradford G. Young earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in 2002 before completing his general practice residency in the Lehigh Valley Health Network. He currently serves as a proud member of the American Dental Association, the Pennsylvania Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. His office in Allentown, PA offers general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. For more information on watching out for your dental health during the holidays, contact the office online or dial (610) 439-1363.
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