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The best and worst Christmas treats for your teeth over the festive period

Children's Oral Health

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Dentist Dr Navi Sangha promises that you can still indulge this season without sacrificing the long-term health of your teeth. In fact, one tasty snack that is perfect for the Christmassy season (and your enamel) is cheese. “Cheese has a number of benefits,” says Dr Sangha. “Cheese helps balance the pH level in your mouth, which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva, and as a consequence, fewer cavities.” Dr Sangha adds that cheese is the “perfect accompaniment after your Christmas pudding”.

Another great choice during the holidays is nuts, which Dr Sangha’s “top tip” is to nibble on unsalted nuts, such as almonds.

“Nuts are a great source of fibre, contain various nutrients and healthy fats,” he adds.

When it comes to staple selections at Christmas, Dr Sangha advises to eat chocolate over sweets.

“Choosing chocolate over sweets is a wise choice,” he confirms.

“Sweets, particularly the gummy variety, are almost entirely made up of sugar,” Dr Sangha explains.

“And their consistency means that they can stick to your teeth, putting you at risk of cavities.”

Instead, the better choice is dark chocolate, which has less sugar than white or milk chocolate.

“The consistency means that it will not lodge in your teeth and cause potential issues with your oral health in the future,” Dr Sangha explains.

As for the worst possible treats on Christmas Day, try to limit Christmas cakes and mince pies.

“People can assume that fruit in all its forms is good for you, but when it comes to your teeth, this isn’t necessarily the case,” he warns.

“Dried fruit has a particularly high sugar content, and the consistency means that they can often stick to and become lodged in your teeth.

“This puts people at risk of getting cavities if they consume too many slices of Christmas cake and mince pies.”

Dr Sangha continues: “If you would like to enjoy your favourite treats, try and do so in moderation and in one sitting rather than throughout the course of the day.

“The best time to consume sugary food for your teeth is with or immediately after a meal.”

You also need to consider the tipple of choice when it comes to celebrating.

“Drinks like Champagne and Prosecco can dissolve tooth enamel due to their high acidic level,” the dentist points out.

“Fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade are also high in sugar and acidity,” he adds, stating that a weakened enamel can increase the risk of tooth erosion.

Adamant not to be a Scrooge this Christmas, Dr Sangha says: “If you are planning to stick with the fizz this Christmas, drink a glass of water in between the Prosecco and Champagne.

“The water will wash away the sugar and acid from in or around your mouth.”

Dr Sangha also says that “low-carb beer” can be “kinder on your teeth”.

Dr Navi Sangha is a dentist at Bupa Dental Care, St Mary Axe in London.

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