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“Dr May Chan and Dr Reuben Sim, Co-Founders of Dental Boutique, have shared what is on the naughty and nice list when it comes to Christmas sweets and keeping those bright smiles intact.”


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… with candy canes and gingerbread galore! OK, these aren’t exactly the lyrics, but parents, you get the drift.

As we gather for some festive cheer, everyone from aunties to neighbours will bring over a treat that is likely to entice your little one’s sweet tooth.

And it’s tough to say no, ’tis the silly season after all.

But do you know who is saying no to certain Christmas treats? Dentists!

Dr May Chan and Dr Reuben Sim, Co-Founders of Dental Boutique, have shared what is on the naughty and nice list when it comes to Christmas sweets and keeping those bright smiles intact. And we’re sorry to say, but the ones your kid has likely been eating non-stop the past week are definitely ones to avoid!

Treats on the naughty list

Top of the list are… Candy canes!

Like other hard lollies, these Christmas treats can be problematic for little mouths.

“People tend to want to bite into them as the cane gets smaller. This can be pretty hard and forceful on weak teeth with large fillings or teeth with older fillings. There is also a risk of chipping front teeth,” Dr Chan tells Kidspot.

Candy canes might have a minty flavour, tricking your brain into thinking you’ve brushed your teeth, but they are just pure sugar.

“It’s a lot of sugar and because a whole candy cane can take 10-15 mins to finish- you’re constantly sucking on sugar so acid will attack your teeth,” Dr Chan adds.

“Consumptions of sugar decreases PH level in the mouth- creating more acidic environment in the mouth and makes it more prone to decay, gum disease etc as bacteria thrives on the acidic environment.”

Oh, what fun!

But it’s not just the sugar parents need to be wary of.

“Candy canes can also get quite sharp as you suck on them- if someone bumps you, it can cause trauma to the soft tissue in the mouth,” Dr Chan warns.


Treats on the nice list

Chocolate is a better choice for a festive snack. Sleigh, what?!

“It washes off your teeth more easily, meaning it doesn’t stick around to cause cavities or other tooth damage,” Dr Sim insists.

Now you have a great excuse to eat chocolate this year: coz your dentist told you so.

Also, you don’t have to run as fast as you can because gingerbread is the best cookie to eat.

While these delicious cookies are still packed with sugar and carbs that feed plaque-producing bacteria, the molasses used to achieve that distinctive dark colour and rich flavour provide key minerals for your tooth enamel.

But still in moderation, Dr Sim warns.

“As most people make large batches of them you tend to snack on them throughout the day which means your saliva has to keep washing the sugar off your teeth so you keep having bacteria eat the sugar and attack your teeth.”


Season’s grin-nings with these tips

  • When travelling during the holidays, don’t forget your toothbrush, floss, mouthwash and any special aligners or appliances that you use.
  • Wait 30 minutes before brushing after sweet or acidic foods.
  • Brush three times a day- this will help reduce plaque build-up as there’s a higher frequency of food intake during the holiday season.
  • Sugar-free candies are recommended as an alternative.

Hopefully, these handy hints will keep you smiling all the way to the new year, and remember that if you have a toothache over the break, call your dentists for emergencies or look for an emergency dental clinic. That goes for you, too, mums and dads.

Happy eating.


Written by Jordana Shell.