Fall is one of our favorite times of the year. The weather changes as the season shifts, bringing in cooler days, chilly nights, and all the fun that comes with them. It’s also a time for celebration, with football games dominating the weekends and wonderful holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving on the horizon.
It’s a glorious time, but it also can present some oral health challenges as we all engage in the fun parts of the season. The foods we associate with fall, the ways in which we celebrate, and the stream of holidays that occur at this time of the year mean that autumn can pose some real issues for your teeth. Let’s talk about what those might be, and how you can best deal with them.
The Holidays and Your Diet
Let’s get this out of the way: many fall foods, while delicious, are not great for your diet or your teeth. The fare served during football games, the infamous pumpkin spice latte, and rich desserts can all lead to dental problems if consumed to excess. It’s perfectly OK to enjoy all of those things, but please remember that they’re occasional foods, not everyday items. Likewise, Halloween candy is wonderful and fun but should be avoided in excess as sugar consumption is a direct cause of tooth decay and gingivitis. If you or your little ones are celebrating Halloween, take it as a chance to learn and teach good eating habits when it comes to sweet treats.
For adults, fall can be a time that leads to more frequent alcohol consumption. Beer goes so well with football, wine is a wonderful addition to many autumn meals, and an evening whiskey can take the edge off a cool fall night. While there’s nothing wrong with alcohol consumption, done too much or too frequently and it can lead to many problems such as tooth discoloration, gum disease, tooth decay, and more. As with sweets, limiting your alcohol intake can go a long way toward preserving your oral health at this time of the year.
Tooth discoloration is also a major problem associated with fall foods. As the weather gets cooler and the leaves change, our menus often include more things that can discolor teeth. These include the following:
- Tea and coffee, particularly black tea such as that often found in many chai or latte type beverages
- Red wine
- Dark-colored liquors, like whiskey or rum
- Tomato-based sauces and soups
So what can you do about it? Well, while still enjoying the fun parts of the season you can ensure that you’re in the main consuming a healthy diet. Having healthy foods–rich in fruits and vegetables–available during autumn celebrations is a step in the right direction. Maintaining a healthy daily diet in between festivities is another. And of course a regular brushing and flossing routine goes a long way towards keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
We wish you the best of the autumn season, whatever it is you’re celebrating and whoever you choose to spend it with. Please remember that whatever your dental needs, Hampstead Dental is here for you, so get in touch today and make an appointment!