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Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: Holiday Foods That May Impact Your Dental Health

November 30, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — cappellodental @ 5:13 pm
A family enjoying a holiday spread with their dental health in mind

At this time of year, there’s a tendency to throw caution to the wind as far as food goes. There’s a general sense of “oh well” associated with family gatherings loaded with holiday treats. While this can produce a lot of fun times and cherished memories, your dental health might pay the price.

If you want to learn how some of your favorite holiday foods can affect your teeth, continue reading.

Sugar Cookies

The problem is in the name! Sugar cookies are packed with processed sugar, and as any dentist will tell you, that’s a no-no. Plaque is a velvety substance that forms on your teeth after you eat. It can build up over time and release acid that wears down your tooth enamel. This is what ultimately causes cavities, and sugar is one of the plaque’s favorite sources of energy.

Egg Nog

This traditional holiday drink usually consists of egg yolks, cream, sugar, spices, and rum. While sugar is a problem, it’s the alcohol that elevates this drink to next-level bad for your dental health.

Alcohol is known to inhibit saliva production which is your mouth’s natural defense against harmful bacteria. Without saliva, your teeth and gums will dry out, allowing the bacteria in plaque to flourish.

Milk Chocolate

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and has some benefits for teeth. In contrast, milk chocolate has almost more sugar and milk than cacao. Due to its versatility, chocolate can be put in or on almost anything, meaning it can be hard to escape. Hot cocoa, ice cream, pies, toppings, and fudge all contain high amounts of milk chocolate and by extension, sugar.

Candy Canes

Say it ain’t so! Unfortunately, yes, candy canes are pretty terrible for your pearly whites. These attractive little crook-shaped treats are made of pure sugar and mint extract. If that weren’t bad enough, they’re also hard! Teeth are durable structures, but they’re not great with repeated stress from crunching hard substances like candy or ice.


You would think that the one savory option on this list would be the safest, but stuffing can be just as bad as sugar cookies. Though it doesn’t often contain sugar, stuffing is heavy on starch—Bacterial plaque’s second favorite food. It’s often made with bread and sometimes potatoes which are chock full of the sticky substance.

So, as you gather around the table with friends and family, be aware of what you eat. This will help you moderate your food and remind you to continue using good dental hygiene. After eating, brush and floss to remove plaque and debris. It’s also a good idea to visit your dentist once the holidays are over for a checkup. They can help keep your smile merry and bright.

About the Author

Dr. William J. Cappello wants to help you stay smiling. He’s built his career on strong bonds with his patients and the excellent dental work he provides. He attended the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, graduating with his dental doctorate. Afterward, he pursued continuing education at the Spear Institute, the Dawson Academy, and multiple other institutions to perfect his skills. To schedule an appointment at Cappello Family Dental, call (203) 816-5545 or visit the website to delve into the other services they offer.

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