You probably don't have sugarplums dancing in your head. But you might be dreaming of these popular holiday candies that, alas, promote tooth decay:
Candy Canes: Whether hanging from a tree, stuffing a stocking, or stirring a cup of hot chocolate, candy canes are a traditional holiday treat. But did you know that candy canes are usually 75% sugar and 25% corn syrup, a blend of sugars (fructose, glucose, etc.)? With all that sugar, a candy cane is near the top of the naughty candy list during the holiday season.
Chewy Candies: Caramel, toffee, Twizzlers, fudge, and other chewy treats might hit your sweet spot – and then stay there for some time. Since these candies stick to your teeth, they have the staying power that provides bacteria with ample opportunity to consume the sugar, producing acids.
And when you combine caramel and popcorn, you set yourself up for a double whammy of tooth decay. Not only do you get the sugars from caramel, but popcorn kernel shells can get stuck between your teeth. Not to mention you always have the potential to crack a tooth biting down on unpopped or not-fully-popped kernels.
Hard Candies: Speaking of cracking a tooth, you might be among the people who can't resist biting into hard candies, such as peanut brittle and peppermints. But by resisting the temptation to bite into hard confections, so you don't chip or break a tooth, you're still subject to tooth decay. Although chewy candy nests on teeth, hard candy dissolves in your mouth over a slow period, allowing the bacteria access to more sugar.
Sweet Holiday Beverages: Though not specifically candy, a few drinks with high sugar content are popular during holiday festivities. It's best to limit your consumption of apple cider, hot chocolate, eggnog, and sweet, creamy alcoholic drinks.