If we told you that many of the foods we enjoy around the holidays aren’t good for our teeth and gums, you probably wouldn’t be surprised. Some of the worst culprits are foods loaded with sugar – pies, cookies, cakes and candy, for example. And when it comes to candy, the harder and/or chewier, the worse they are. Even holiday drinks can be hard on your oral health. This is especially true for sugary sodas and fruit juices, as well as wine, which can not only stain your teeth but weaken your enamel as well.
Fortunately, there are several foods that you can enjoy with a clear conscience this holiday season. Here are some tooth-friendly foods that you should add to your holiday menus:
- Vegetables – Remember the veggie tray at parties and family gatherings. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery actually help to clean the surface of your teeth, as well as being an advantage to your overall health thanks to a good dose of vitamins and minerals. Pair your vegetables with a dip using either cream cheese or yogurt for even more oral health benefits.
- Cheese – A cheese tray is another great choice for the holidays. Cheese (as well as other dairy products, such as milk and yogurt) contains tooth-healthy calcium. But cheese provides another benefit that you might not be aware of — it actually balances the pH levels inside your mouth, and that helps to reduce the damage caused by acids and bacteria, both of which can lead to tooth decay and a higher risk of gum disease.
- Low-sugar desserts – Most of us have our favorite holiday dessert recipes that we like to prepare for family and friends at this time of year. To make these treats more tooth-friendly (not to mention less fattening), try reducing the amount of refined sugar called for in the recipe. You can replace the sweetness with a healthier alternative, like dates, applesauce or bananas, for example.
- Deviled eggs – Another great choice for your holiday appetizer menu are deviled eggs. These delicious snacks provide all-important Vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb tooth-healthy calcium.
The holidays are a fun time of year to enjoy so many of the foods and drinks that we don’t indulge in at other times. Just remember to keep the sweets to a minimum and incorporate these tooth-healthy options into your holiday menus. What a delicious way to celebrate the holidays and good oral health!