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Most dentists enjoy a sweet treat and an indulgent holiday just like the rest of us. But some holiday treats are worse for teeth than others. When your children enjoy their seasonal sugary goodies, make sure they are brushing and flossing often. Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the upcoming month:

Enjoy your holiday treats with meals

While tasty goodies are fine in moderation, it does help to eat sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Saliva production increases during meals and combats acid-producing bacteria. It also helps rinse away food particles.

These holiday treats are the worst for teeth

As you are shopping for your holiday party, gifts, or stocking stuffers, keep in mind these options that dentists say are the worst for teeth:

Hard Candy – Children can crack a tooth if they bite down on these with too much force. Remind your children not to bite hard holiday candy like candy canes or lollipops. Because hard candy is meant to be sucked on, it stays in the mouth longer and can lead to cavities when not fully brushed away. Brush after eating hard candy.

Sticky Treats – Dentists do not like caramels, taffy, and gummy snacks, even if they are quite popular with kids. When sugar sits on teeth, bacteria breaks down protective tooth enamel. Hard caramels and candy-coated apples can also cause tooth damage when kids bite with a lot of force. Select other options if possible.

So, what is a great option for holiday sweets?

This delicious choice is better for the teeth than the options above: Chocolate!

Yes, chocolate is one of the best choices of holiday candy when it comes to teeth. Chocolate rinses off teeth more easily than sticky or hard candies. In addition, dark chocolate treats have less sugar than milk chocolate – and additional properties for good health.

Help combat holiday sweets with water

You need a lot of energy for holiday activities, but avoid drinking sodas, sports drinks and juices with lots of sugar, says the ADA. Instead, drink water with fluoride in it to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

We all love to celebrate special occasions with food. Pay attention to the amount your kids are consuming and make sure they are brushing and flossing. And if anyone in the family is due for a teeth cleaning, remember to see a dentist. The holidays can be a busy time, but do not forget about your teeth! Have a safe and fun December!

Are you in the Raleigh area? Looking for a pediatric dentist? To schedule an appointment for you child, visit us at or call (919) 806-0200.