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Naughty or Nice: How These Popular Holiday Foods Affect Teeth

December 10, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drshah @ 6:32 pm
holiday food spread in arlington

It wouldn’t be the holidays without all of the traditional foods and drinks you grew up enjoying. Although they’re nostalgic and delicious, many of them are full of sugar and starch. The good news is, while some goodies can wreak havoc on your teeth, there are some other options that are more smile friendly. Keep reading to hear what your Arlington dentist has to say about which of your holiday favorites land themselves on the naughty or nice list.

Common Naughty and Nice Holiday Foods for Your Teeth

There’s no denying that pies, stuffing, and other savory treats are some of the things people look most forward to when it comes to celebrating with family and friends. After all, it just wouldn’t be the holidays without them. However, while you’re indulging this season, it’s important to be aware of certain foods and drinks that may be more or less friendly to your teeth:

Holiday Foods and Drinks: Foe or Friend?

During the holidays, you shouldn’t have to feel like you need to avoid your favorite foods and drinks altogether, but it’s still important to be mindful of the impact they can have on your oral health if consumed in excess:

  1. Candy Canes: This holiday staple can increase the exposure of your teeth to sugar while enjoying it. Be sure to properly rinse your teeth off afterwards to avoid the risk of cavities.
  2. Hot Chocolate: Make sure to have some water nearby while enjoying this creamy, sugary beverage so that you can avoid tooth decay by rinsing your mouth out.
  3. Ice Cubes: Your tooth enamel is extremely strong, but it’s not invincible. Biting down hard on cubes after finishing a beverage can cause breaks or chipping.
  4. Alcoholic Beverages: Mixed drinks and wines often contain high amounts of acid and sugar which work together to erode tooth enamel and cause decay. Stay hydrated and keep your teeth safe by enjoying a glass of water between drinks.
  5. Holiday Pies: Pies are a double whammy, as they are high in both starch and sugar content. The stinky contents can cling to your teeth and cause plaque build-up, which could put you at risk for gum disease and cavities.

Don’t fret, though! There are plenty of other popular holiday favorites that are much easier on your smile:

  1. Cheese: Many holiday parties and get-togethers involve savory cheese boards and trays. Cheese is high in calcium and low in sugar, so eat up! You can enjoy plenty of it without negative affects to your oral health.
  2. Nuts: During the holiday season, you probably see plenty of bowls filled with mixed nuts around your own home and at other gatherings. Nuts not only help remove plaque while you’re enjoying them, but they also contain a myriad of vitamin and minerals. Watch out though…some mixes tend to contain large amounts of added sugar.
  3. Meat: One of the best things you can do for your teeth when you sit down to a holiday meal is to fill up on meat. Unlike popular sides such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, ham and turkey don’t contain added sugar. Plus, the protein will help to keep you feeling full longer so that you avoid excessive munching.
  4. Vegetable Trays: If you’re still trying to figure out what to add the list of appetizers to enjoy before the big meal, consider a vegetable tray! The fiber will help clean your teeth, and it’s a great alternative to a handful of sugary candy or cookies.
  5. Sugar-Free Candy or Gum: Nowadays, there are plenty of sugar-free options that still taste delicious! When you’re stuffing the stockings this year, consider adding in a few of these options to help keep your family’s teeth healthy.

Enjoy the holidays with a plan to care for your teeth by being mindful of what you’re consuming and keeping up with a regular oral hygiene routine. Your teeth will thank you in the long run.

About the Author

Dr. Prachi D. Shah leads the team of experts at South Arlington Dental Care. She understands the importance of oral health, and it is her passion to make sure that each of her patients has the knowledge and tools they need to take good care of their smiles. She is dedicated to lifelong learning, and years of experience and continuing education make her the best dentist for you. Are your teeth in good shape for the holidays? Schedule an appointment online or call (817) 860-2222.

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