When you think of holiday treats, you probably envision all sorts of sweets, from trays of festive cookies to candy canes and hot chocolate. Unfortunately, all that extra sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth, but don’t worry—you can still enjoy some milk and cookies before you leave the rest for Santa. By limiting how many sweets you eat, mixing in some teeth-friendly holiday foods, and keeping up with your daily brushing and flossing routine, you can finish out the year with a bright, healthy smile!
Holiday Foods to Avoid
Overindulging in sugary cookies and treats is never good for your dental health. Sugar causes cavities by feeding the bacteria that create plaque. So be careful not to let sugar linger in your mouth. If you’ve been snacking on candy and cookies, make sure to drink lots of water and brush more often.
Whether they’re full of sugar or potentially staining, some holiday treats can be especially harmful to your teeth. Try to avoid these holiday foods:
- Hard candies like candy canes that can splinter and get stuck between your teeth
- Chewy candies like caramel and toffee that stick to your teeth
- Red wine, coffee, and other beverages that can stain your teeth
- Sugary drinks like hot chocolate and eggnog
6 Teeth-Friendly Holiday Foods
If some of your seasonal favorites are on the list above, try switching them out for a more tooth-friendly option. For example, instead of hot chocolate, try a cup of peppermint tea. Instead of milk chocolate, opt for dark chocolate instead. From festive cheese platters to pumpkin pie, there are lots of teeth-friendly holiday foods you can try—take a look at our list below.
Say cheese! The calcium in dairy products like cheese and yogurt helps strengthen tooth enamel and keep your smile bright. Calcium also helps build strong bones, including the jawbones that support your teeth.
Like cheese, nuts also contain high levels of calcium. So as long as you have strong teeth, go ahead and enjoy some roasted nuts, chocolate-covered nuts, or a nutty cheese ball.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Making a festive fruit and veg tray will help balance out those sweet holiday snacks. Fruits and veggies have lots of water and fiber to keep your mouth hydrated and your teeth clean. To make fruits and vegetables more appealing to kids, try serving them with a calcium-rich yogurt dip.
Of all the holiday cookies, gingerbread cookies have the least sugar. Plus, they’re fun to decorate! So instead of sugar cookies, use your favorite cookie cutters on some gingerbread instead.
Desserts made with pumpkin are rich in vitamin A, one of the most essential vitamins for dental health. Vitamin A helps you produce saliva, which washes away food particles and the harmful bacteria that cause cavities.
Although milk chocolate has lots of sugar, dark chocolate can actually be good for your teeth. The antioxidants in dark chocolate support gum health by fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation, lowering your risk of gum disease.
Don’t Forget to Brush!
As dentists, we can’t stress this point enough. We know that schedules often get interrupted over the holidays, but don’t neglect your regular brushing and flossing routine. Remember to brush thoroughly at least twice a day and floss before going to bed. Keep a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with you to use when you’re at work or on the road. You can also brush or rinse with mouthwash 15 minutes after eating sugary treats to give your teeth some extra protection.
Start the New Year with a Dental Cleaning
The team at Greeley Dental Health wants to wish you a happy holiday season! We hope you’ll enjoy more tooth-friendly holiday foods this season so you can start 2022 in excellent dental health. Visiting the dentist twice a year will also help you keep your smile bright and your teeth cavity-free. So schedule your first dental exam and cleaning of the new year with our talented team today—book online or give us a call at (970) 353-4329 to make an appointment.