The holiday season is here, which means you’ll probably be attending — and possibly even throwing — lots of parties and gatherings with co-workers, family, and friends. December is a month packed with festivities, joy, and, of course, lots of special foods and drinks.
Unfortunately, some seasonal favorites can really do a number on your teeth and gums. If you really can’t get through the month without indulging in some eggnog, at least practice moderation. Other foods you may encounter at holiday gatherings are actually good for your oral heath. (Yay!)
Read on to learn which seasonal foods and treats you can eat with abandon, and which you should approach with caution.
Dentist-Approved Holiday Foods
A beautifully roasted turkey is the centerpiece of the holiday table. And turkey — as do other lean meats — offers benefits for your dental health. Turkey contains phosphorus and protein, which work together with calcium to strengthen teeth. Plus, this tasty bird does not stimulate bacterial growth in the mouth, which helps keep cavities at bay.
Just say “no” to the cranberry sauce, whose high sugar content is decidedly not tooth-friendly!
Mmmm, cheese. Luscious, creamy cheese. Cheese is not only delicious, it is a superfood for your mouth. Cheese, of course, is a dairy product. This means it’s loaded with calcium, which is one of the building blocks of your teeth, providing their strength and structure.
Cheese has a special property that sets it apart from other dairy products, though. In studies, it has been shown to actually raise the pH levels in the mouth, possibly due to the fact that it stimulates saliva production. A higher pH means a lowered risk for cavities and decay. So at your next holiday party, hang out by the cheese tray. Your teeth will love you for it.
Nuts are low in sugar, filling, and can be incorporated into your holiday meals in a number of ways. Sprinkle toasted nuts on salads or cooked vegetable side dishes. Set out bowls of fancy mixed nuts for a pre-meal nibble. Nuts are rich in health-boosting nutrients, and they increase the production of saliva in your mouth. This helps wash away harmful bacteria and keep your pearly whites clean and free of decay.
Deviled eggs are a popular nibble at any gathering. They are also good for your teeth! Eggs are a good source of phosphorus, which helps strengthen enamel. They are also high in protein and low in sugar. Make them with greek yogurt rather than mayo for a calcium boost.
A beautifully arranged crudite platter adds color and freshness to your holiday spread. Raw, fibrous vegetables offer a welcome break from heavier party fare, plus they help keep your teeth clean. Chewing on them helps increase saliva flow, plus they stimulate the gums. Serve with a calcium-rich yogurt dip.
If you are looking for fun and mouth-healthy ideas for a holiday party, check out these adorable treats from the American Dental Association.
Eat These Treats in Moderation
These colorful symbols of the holiday season make beautiful Christmas tree decorations, but they are bad news when it comes to your dental health. Like all hard candies, they dissolve into a nasty slurry of sugar and saliva. This coats your teeth and is difficult to remove thoroughly, creating ideal conditions for bacteria to proliferate. If you prefer chewing your candy canes, you risk breaking or chipping a tooth.
Rich, sweet eggnog is a beloved tradition. Unfortunately, it’s packed with sugar and can do a lot of damage to your teeth. If you must imbibe, stick to one cup. And brush your teeth after indulging (or at least follow up with a glass of water to help rinse out your mouth).
We know that fruitcake has plenty of haters, but its fans tend to be particularly ardent in their devotion. If you are one of these fruitcake lovers, be aware that overindulging may have negative consequences on your teeth. The sweet, dense, and sticky texture of the cake itself and the candied fruits it contains is ideal for getting stuck in the grooves of the teeth. This, of course, stimulates bacterial growth and increases your chances of getting cavities.
This holiday season, eat well — and eat smart. And don’t forget to visit Davenport Dental Group every six months for a checkup. To book an appointment, fill out our online form or call one of our convenient Laredo, TX offices. Reach Junction Drive at 956-242-6745 or Winfield at 956-517-2695. If your smile needs a pick-me-up, ask about our cosmetic dentistry services.