This holiday season, take a few moments to consider another part of your body that is under attack by all of the decadent food offerings: your teeth. Normally, when it comes to deciding the best foods to eat this time of year, our waistlines get all of the attention. While staying in shape through the holidays is good overall, it is also a good idea to consider which foods are best for your dental health as well. Cavities and gingivitis don’t take the holidays off after all. Let’s look at some foods to go after this year as part of a new tradition of healthier teeth and gums!
Carry Around Sugar Free Gum
Keeping this little powerhouse in your pocket or purse is a great way to keep tooth decay at bay this holiday season. After a heavy meal or snack, popping in a piece of sugar free gum can help scrub some of the damaging sugars off of your teeth. This combined with a glass of water can really help stave off the damaging effects of sugary holiday treats.
Remember this rule of thumb: reduce the amount of time that sugary foods come in contact with your teeth. Eat sugary foods only directly after a meal or remember to brush your teeth right afterward. Avoid continuously snacking on sugary treats like cookies or candy all day. Get your sugar rush in all at once instead of over a long period of time!
Bonus tip: Sugar free gum is also a great stocking stuffer!
Go For More Tea!
Did you know that besides packing lots of antioxidants, green and black teas also contain tooth saving fluoride? Since the cold weather and holidays go hand in hand, you’ll have a great excuse to have an extra cup or two of hot green or black tea. The slightly acidic nature of the tea is a great anti-bacterial that can help clear your mouth of some of the harmful bacteria that tends to build up in the wintertime. It also helps dissolve and break down the sugars that can stay on teeth after a meal. Have a few extra glasses of green or black tea this year to help get your teeth the much needed fluoride boost during the day!
Foods To Avoid
Good dental health can also lead to overall body health, so it’s a win win! Here are a few holiday staples to try and avoid this year so you can keep both your teeth and waistline healthy.
Hard candies, especially sour kinds
Citrus and fruity drinks
Fruitcake of all kinds
Full sugar sodas
Foods To Enjoy, In Moderation
There are some foods, like tea, that can be good or at least have a small positive impact on your overall dental health. Some foods to reach for this year include:
Roasted nuts, especially almonds and sesame seeds
Low-fat dairy like milk, string cheese, and Greek yogurt
Raw fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, broccoli, and celery
Pineapple slices (in moderation)
Bonus tip: Pineapple contains a powerful enzyme that helps to actually remove stains from your teeth. It also promotes healthy saliva production which helps regulate mouth PH and fight cavities.
Snacking during the holidays doesn’t have to always lead to a dental disaster! Have a jolly old time eating this holiday season, but keep an eye on how often and in what combinations. After all, the best present is a healthy set of teeth!