Dr. Oh Xue Ling BDS (Adelaide) from Shenton Dental Surgery
Chinese New Year is traditionally a time for gathering, visiting relatives and friends. While doing
so, it is inevitable that we will be snacking and feasting more often. Here we look at how some
of the common snacks can potentially cause problems if eaten in excessive amounts.
Sweet foods e.g. Chocolate, candies
Foods that are high in sugar can cause dental decay as they
metabolize into acid. The acid will then attack the enamel of our
teeth, causing them to weaken and form decay over time.
Occasional snacking will not do much damage to our teeth as
saliva is constantly trying to neutralize the acid in our mouth.
The problem arises when we snack on them frequently and in
large amounts (some snacks are simply irresistible!).
To counter this, try to time the snacking to be right before mealtimes, instead of snacking throughout the day. This gives our
saliva some time to neutralize the acids in between meals,
protecting our teeth. Also, try to drink more water instead of
Sticky foods e.g. Pineapple tarts, Nian Gao
A hot favorite and a must-eat every new year, these snacks are not only sweet but also sticky.
Sticky foods are dangerous as they adhere to our teeth, making it harder for our saliva and
tongue to clean them off. This also means that our teeth will be exposed to acid for a longer
period of time.
A piece of advice will be to rinse and gargle with water frequently after eating these to aid in dislodging
these sticky foods. Flossing or brushing will help too.
Hard foods e.g. Nuts, melon seeds, tapioca chips, honeycomb cookies
Hard foods, especially nuts, are notorious for causing chips or even cracks. Take special care
when eating these, avoiding biting on areas with extensive dental work done. Also, be careful to
not bite too hard too suddenly. Whenever possible, it is preferable to crack open nuts with tools
instead of your own teeth.
Drinks e.g. orange juice, carbonated drinks, alcohol
Many households serve orange juice (as it has an auspicious symbolism), or carbonated drinks.
These drinks are acidic and can cause erosion of the teeth enamel, causing sensitivity.
Furthermore, they are also often high in sugar and can contribute to dental decay as well.
Alcohol is also another popular choice of beverage. However, they tend to dehydrate the mouth,
decreasing salivary flow which protects the teeth.
Try to drink acidic drinks like orange juice and carbonated drinks with a straw if possible, to
reduce contact with the teeth. Drinking water frequently aside from these drinks is helpful as
During this festive season, it is ok to indulge in your favorite snacks and enjoy. However,
moderation is key. Keep in mind these tips, and Shenton Dental Surgery wishes you a
prosperous and safe Chinese New Year!