You’ve managed to survive Halloween and the influx of candy with nary a cavity in sight – congrats! However, you now have to survive both Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah and…you get the picture. The holiday season (that someone in their infinite wisdom decided should have ALL the holidays, smushed together) can be a cavity minefield if you’re not careful – and not only for your kids. It’s important that you too be aware of which foods are better for you than others and what to avoid. Luckily, we’re here to help!
First, we have the foods that are best for your teeth as you’re noshing this holiday season. Fruits & veggies are the obvious choices because these are ALWAYS good for you, but in this case, they get your saliva flowing, which helps clean teeth. Did you know? Low-fat dairy also increases saliva production & it offers calcium, which helps build strong teeth. Lean protein helps strengthen teeth, so it’s a great choice during the holiday season. Some great examples of these foods include skinless turkey; hard cheese w/fruit; using skim milk in mashed potatoes; deviled eggs; carrots & celery; black olives; and spinach & artichoke dip.
Second, we have what to limit or avoid. If you’re having sweets, have them with meals (or right after) – since you just finished eating, all the above foods, which increased your saliva will help cancel out the acid from the sugary stuff (which damages your teeth!). Be aware – dried fruit isn’t necessarily your friend. Why? Because it’s sticky & anything sticky is going to, well, stick around. If you’re indulging in dried cranberries, etc., be sure to rinse your mouth (or brush) right after if possible. Limit your alcohol content. Too much alcohol can dry your mouth out & it’s often high in sugars. Hard candies should be avoided (or very carefully eaten) as not only are they sugary, but they’ve been known to break or chip your teeth!!
The holiday season is meant to be fun and joyous, and we aren’t saying you should let yourself miss out on anything delicious – trust us, we like a good treat every once in a while too =), but it’s important to indulge in moderation, along with healthy brushing and flossing habits, of course. Eat more of the good healthy choices from the “best foods” section than the “foods to be avoided” section when enjoying your holiday celebrations. Most importantly though, enjoy yourself! It’s the holidays so have fun; just avoid the cavities and consequences while you’re at it.