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    Keep Your Smile Happy and Healthy Over the Holidays

    The end of the year is often synonymous with food, drink, friends, and family — whether you’re choosing last minute gifts or which favorite treats to serve at your holiday party. One thing that few people think about though, is the impact our favorite holiday indulgences have on our teeth. Most people know the dangers excessive sugars have on oral health, but did you know even the simple choice of red or white wine can have a surprising impact on oral health?

    And it doesn’t stop at wine! Here are some fun facts about the oral health science behind some of our favorite holiday indulgences that may surprise and delight you.

    The benefits of red wine: While people have heard about red wine’s benefits to heart health, they may be surprised about its oral health benefits. Studies have shown that the antioxidant properties in red wine seem to prevent the bacteria which causes tooth decay from sticking to saliva and teeth. And research conducted at Cornell University found chemicals in grape seeds and red wine that help limit inflammation caused by gingivitis. Limiting inflammation may also protect against periodontal disease.

    The hidden risks of white wine: Some studies show that acid in white wines may erode enamel, the protective layer of your teeth, making teeth more sensitive to cold, hot and sweet foods. And while staining is more commonly associated with red wine, studies show that white wine actually has an acid content that tends to increase the risk of dark dental stains if you also drink tea or similar beverages. If they’re more of a whiskey than wine person, patients may be interested to know that lighter or clear spirits can help them avoid higher sugar contents. However, mixing clear alcohol with sugary juices or soda can negate that factor.

    Snacks and sweet treats: The good news is many foods we like to enjoy during the holidays – foods like cheese, poultry, meat, nuts – are high in calcium and phosphorus, which studies show helps remineralize tooth enamel! Good food choices at a cocktail party also include crunchy fruits and vegetables. These have a higher water content, which helps to dilute the effects of the sugars. They also stimulate the flow of saliva, which helps protect against tooth decay.
    Being mindful of your habits can contribute to better oral health and overall health. As you indulge in your favorite foods this holiday season, and continue to brush and floss regularly.