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Will You Be Naughty or Nice to Your Teeth this Holiday Season?

Ellis Dental offers six easy tips to keep your smile bright

You’ve heard all the tips on healthful eating and how to avoid packing on the pounds during the holiday season. But what about protecting your smile? It is, after all, your best accessory. With all of the office parties, family get-togethers, and gathering of friends, sweet treats, and other temptations are everywhere the next few weeks. Which are okay to eat and which might add an unwanted trip to the dentist to your holiday list? Dr. Holly Ellis, DDS, owner of Ellis Dental, shares several ways to avoid a dental emergency and to keep your smile bright.

 Holiday Candy, Ellis Dental 

Holiday Candy, Ellis Dental 

  1. Nuts. Nuts are full of protein, but can also be un-cracked or coated in sugar. Never shell nuts with your teeth, there’s a reason there’s a nutcracker next to the plate. Raw nuts are the healthiest choice. If coated in sugar, opt for only a couple and have some water around to sip on to help remove the sticky residue from your teeth.
  2. Candy and ice. The stickier the candy, the longer sugar remains on teeth, which isn't ideal. It is best to avoid chewy candies such as taffy and gummy bears, which could also pull out fillings. Hard candy also stays in the mouth longer, increasing the risk of tooth decay. If you crunch on hard candy or ice, you could easily chip a tooth, which is not only painful, but pricy to fix. 
  3. The best type of candy. Of course, you’re on the nice list … a sweet treat here and there isn’t a bad thing. Chocolate is one of the better candies to eat as it does not stick to teeth and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate. Eat candy with meals or shortly thereafter as this helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
  4. Healthy snacks. The best type of snacks for your teeth are, of course, fruits and vegetables. Head for the veggie tray at a party, adding some carrot sticks and other healthful options to your plate.
  5. Patience and proper tools. You want to rip open those gifts right away. If you don’t have the right tools such as scissors or a bottle opener around to do so, simply stop and wait. Teeth should never be used for opening packages or trying to unscrew a bottle cap. This can crack a tooth — potentially leading to a crown or root canal.
  6. Brushing and flossing. As always, keep to your routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time to prevent tooth decay. Flossing will also help remove any leftover particles between teeth that brushing can’t reach.