Hooray, it’s the holidays! This festive time of year is filled with activities, gatherings with family and friends, plus lots of great food, of course. When you’re surrounded by so many delicious sweets and treats, how do you ensure your oral health is protected?
The good news is that not all holiday foods are bad for your teeth. You can even enjoy the not-so-great stuff in very limited quantities. Read on to learn how to have a fabulous December — and keep your smile beautiful and healthy through it all.
Whatever the season, it’s crucial to see us at Callow Family Dentistry for checkups every six months. Call our Plymouth, MI office at 734-404-7336 to book an appointment.
Tooth-Friendly Party Foods
These are the nibbles you can load up on at any party without hesitation or guilt. If you are hosting a gathering, put them on your menu!
These retro bites are always a crowd-pleaser. And eggs are good for your body and good for your dental health. The yolks contain vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium, one of the building blocks of your teeth. They also contain protein and a host of other essential nutrients.
Raw, Crunchy, Vegetable
Holiday foods tend to be on the rich side. A crudite tray of colorful vegetables not only gorgeous, but is a great way to balance the heavier stuff. Think cucumbers, carrots, celery sticks, red peppers. Vegetables, of course, are packed with nutrients. But fibrous crunchy vegetables, when eaten raw, also help keep your pearly whites pristine. When you chew on them, their texture stimulates your gums. They also ramp up saliva production, which helps rinse away particles of food and decay-causing bacteria. If you can’t get to a toothbrush, nosh on some crudite to clean out your mouth. For an extra dose of tooth-friendliness, serve them with a homemade dip made with calcium-rich yogurt.
Here’s a tip: hang out by the cheese plate. Yup, when it comes to your teeth, cheese is a superstar. Like all dairy products, cheese is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that builds up your teeth and keeps them strong.
Cheese has something else going for it, though. Research suggests that cheese (and not other dairy products) actually raises the pH level in your mouth. The higher the pH, the lower your risk for cavities. This may be due to the fact that chewing cheese increases saliva flow, which cleans the mouth and neutralizes acids.
Water rinses the food particles and bacteria right out of your mouth. Drink it freely and often. Tap water is best, as it contains fluoride, a mineral that your enamel needs to stay strong and able to resist acid attacks. Buy a reusable water bottle and carry it with you when you’re out and about. At holiday parties, chase sweet or alcoholic beverages with a glass of refreshing water.
Eat in Moderation (if You Must)
If you don’t think you can get through the holiday season without the following foods, at least keep their consumption to a minimum.
This sugary beverage is making its annual appearance in grocery store refrigerators. Unfortunately, you may want to pass it on by. Eggnog’s viscous texture coats your teeth in sugar, which is tough to remove entirely. This creates perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and give off the harmful acids that wear down tooth enamel. If you do indulge, drink a glass of water afterward (or, even better, brush your teeth).
These iconic candies are beloved by kids and a few grown-ups, too. But it’s really best to utilize them in a way that doesn’t involve wrecking your teeth — try hanging them on your Christmas tree, for example. When you suck on candy canes (as with all hard candies), you create a slurry of saliva and sugar in your mouth. This coats your teeth and enables the sugar to settle in all the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Hello, tooth decay! Chewing on candy canes isn’t any better. You may actually chip or crack a tooth.
Don’t Neglect Oral Hygiene
When you’re traveling, or when normal schedules are a bit out of whack, it can be easy to allow dental care fall through the cracks. Don’t let it. Make sure you and your kids stick to a routine of brushing every morning and night and flossing at least once per day. This is important no matter the season, but especially so during the sweet-filled holiday season.
If you live in or around Plymouth, MI, book a checkup with Callow Family Dentistry. You may reach us online or call our office at 734-404-7336.