Holiday Dental Hazards


The holidays are upon us, and we see a definite upswing in the number of patients we treat for holiday-related dental mishaps. Here are some ways to avoid dental problems during the holidays.

Hard Candy

Candy canes, peppermint, Jolly Ranchers and candy sticks are hard on teeth. Also, they have a propensity for sticking to teeth after they’re chewed so that it can be a double whammy. Try to avoid eating these.


Pecans and walnuts should be cracked with a nutcracker and not teeth! Pistachios are also trouble, but Mr. Nutcracker isn’t much help with those.  Try a hand nutcracker for the pistachios, or use a half shell as a pry bar to twist open reluctant pistachios.  For those sneaky ones that are 100% closed, use the edge of a can or a hammer.

It's wrapped up tighter than Fort Knox!

It's wrapped up tighter than Fort Knox!

Taffy and other sticky candy

The sticky candies can pull dental fillings out quicker than you can say, “Ho ho ho!’ So, when it comes to sticky candy, don’t be afraid to say, “No no no! Thank you!” The rule is, if candy is so sticky that it feels like it’s pulling on your tooth, your fillings are in danger. Plus, if you don’t have fillings, the sticky candies, well, stick.


Wines are highly acidic, and the acid attacks tooth enamel. Don’t be afraid to swish with water after a glass of wine, but avoid brushing for about 40 minutes. Brushing teeth which have been ‘bathed’ in acidic foods can damage enamel even more.

Wrappers/bottle caps

Some of the wrappings they use for toys and electronics can be impossible to remove without a pair of scissors. So, use the scissors, keep your teeth undamaged. Also, not bar tricks by using your teeth to open bottles, please! Not even if your cousin dares you.


In addition to being terribly painful, GERD erodes tooth enamel.

In addition to being terribly painful, GERD erodes tooth enamel.

That second helping of pie after a big meal can bring on the heartburn! Acid reflux erodes tooth enamel, so treat heartburn promptly before it has a chance to launch a sneak attack on your teeth.  Your stomach AND your teeth will thank you!


Since the kids are home, it’s the perfect time for them to play a little baseball or try out the new bike. These little mishaps are part and parcel of being a kid, so Dad and Mom might have to remind them to use that safety equipment.

Brushing after acidic foods

We’ve already mentioned wine, but any acidic food needs to be swished away with fresh water and then brushed away about forty minutes later. 

Keep up the good work!

During the holidays, people get busy shopping and visiting, so brushing and flossing can be neglected in the excitement.  Take the time to care for your teeth with brushing twice a day and daily flossing.  If you’re away at a party of relative’s home, pack a mini brush, use sugarless gum, or rinse and swish. Remember to brush them when you return home!

If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best care we can!

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