It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas…
We’re moving into the holiday season which means plenty of delicious foods and boatloads of sugary sweets. And while the assortment of delicacies is sure to please our taste buds, they can wreak havoc on our teeth.
While turkey, pecan pie, marshmallowy sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, eggnog and the likes, all sound absolutely appetizing, we need to be extra-vigilant during this time of year. While the sugary assault of Halloween might’ve passed, there’s still plenty of foods that can cause damage to your pearly whites.
Let the dental care experts at WhiteWing Dental in McAllen and La Feria give you a little bit of insight on the best and worst foods for your teeth this holiday season.
Enjoy These Holiday Foods
It can be very easy to overindulge in sweets and goodies this holiday season, that’s why balancing it out with some healthy foods is very important to minimizing damage to your teeth. Some of the best foods you can enjoy this fall and winter include:
- Vegetables: Raw, fibrous vegetables like celery and carrots act like natural toothbrushes, helping to clean out the spaces between your teeth and remove plaque. Even more importantly, these low-calorie foods provide a most excellent array of vitamins and minerals that help to boost your immune system and tooth health.
- Turkey: It’s ok to gobble, gobble down on some turkey. This protein-rich food is an excellent source of phosphorous, which helps to keep bones strong and teeth healthy.
- Cheese: Plenty of holiday spreads tend to include cheese, which is perfectly fine to enjoy. Cheese contains calcium and casein which help to reduce your exposure to other chemicals that cause enamel erosion.
- Nuts: These tasty treats are a great source of calcium and even help to stimulate saliva production, which helps to clean the inside of your mouth.
- Dark Chocolate: We know you want to enjoy yourself a little this holiday season and dark chocolate is just the sweet you need. Dark chocolates, made from at least 60 percent or more real cocoa, have been shown to protect against diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure – diseases associated with dental health.
- Sugar-Free Gum: As you bounce from party to party, you might not have the opportunity to brush your teeth as frequently as you’d like. Luckily, sugar-free gum can help to reduce bacteria and plaque buildup. Just make sure to look for gums labeled with the ADA seal which means they do not contain cavity causing sweeteners.
Put a Limit on These Holiday Foods
The holiday season offers plenty of savory seasonal foods, but not all of them are good for you. You’ll want to limit these holiday foods:
- Candy Canes: Yes, they are a Christmas classic. No, they are not good for you. Candy canes contain loads of sugars that help to feed unhealthy bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria, in turn, release excessive amounts of acid that can cause tooth decay and enamel erosion. Plus, not only can they cause cavities, but one wrong bite can lead to a cracked or chipped tooth.
- Stocking Stuffer Snacks: The holiday season is all about giving but, unfortunately, that often means giving sticky (and unhealthy) treats as stocking stuffers. From gummy bears to taffy and even dried fruit, stocking stuffer snacks can increase your potential for cavities.
- Eggnog: The added sugars in eggnog can create the ideal environment for bacteria in your mouth – and that isn’t a good thing. This sugar-filled beverage can cause devastating damage to your teeth so be wary of over-indulging.
- Alcohol: Alcohol creates a dry environment in your mouth that can boost bacteria growth. Over time, this can cause dental issues and an increased risk for gum disease. WhiteWing Dental would like to remind all of our families and friends to never drink and drive.
As one final tip for this holiday season; avoid using your teeth as tools! Do not attempt to unwrap, open packages, or use your teeth as a cutting tool. This can easily lead to a chip or break.
Keep your smile bright this holiday season by scheduling an appointment at WhiteWing Dental.
Our McAllen dentists are able to provide you the general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services you need to make this holiday season one to remember. Contact us today at our McAllen or La Feria office for the dental care you deserve.