29 Nov 4 Healthy Holiday Snacks That Are Good for Your Teeth
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s a great time to get creative in the kitchen. Festive holiday snacks and treats make excellent gifts and party dishes. However, there are many holiday foods that can do a lot of damage to your mouth. At Hicks Dental Group, we want to help you keep your mouth healthy by offering this guide to healthy holiday snacks that are good for your teeth.
Four Holiday Snacks That Are Good for Your Teeth
1. Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are excellent healthy holiday snacks. Strawberries, cherries, and asparagus are full of vitamin C, which helps your mouth fight against gum disease. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and celery increase your saliva production to help rinse food particles from your mouth. Fruits and veggies allow for versatile presentation, so you can make festive trays in a variety of fun holiday shapes like Christmas trees, wreaths, and snowmen.
Although fruit is the perfect snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, many fruits are very acidic, making them just as bad for your teeth as sugar. Protect your teeth by avoiding or limiting your intake of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. You should especially avoid dipping any fruit in caramel, which is too sugary and sticky for your teeth.
Another tooth-friendly food to enjoy over the holidays is cheese. The calcium in cheese helps strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. A cheese ball is a great party appetizer that you can easily make more festive. Try adding two pretzels, two black olives, and a cherry tomato to make antlers and a face for an adorable reindeer. Or, build a snowman by stacking two cheese balls and using black olives and a baby carrot to make a face.
Roasting chestnuts on an open fire isn’t just a fun holiday lyric—it’s also a healthy snack! Chestnuts and many other kinds of nuts are great for your oral health because they are packed with protein to keep your teeth strong. Chewing them also increases saliva production. Roasting nuts or making spiced nuts are a couple of ways to make nuts a little more festive for the holidays. If your teeth are damaged or fragile, try a roasted nut dip instead of crunching on whole nuts.
4. Dark Chocolate
Eating dark chocolate in moderation can be good for your health and even benefit your teeth. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Antioxidants help prevent gum disease, while polyphenols limit bacteria in your mouth and prevent cavities. When making holiday desserts, try substituting sugary milk chocolate with dark chocolate instead.
Types of Holiday Snacks to Avoid
To best prevent cavities, it’s important to avoid sugar as much as possible. Unfortunately, many holiday staples are full of sugar. It’s best to avoid or limit your intake of:
- Candy canes
- Sugar cookies
- Sweetened cranberry sauce
Substitute eggnog with lightly sweetened peppermint tea, and swap sugar cookies for gingerbread made with molasses. You can also make your own cranberry sauce using less sugar or a tooth-friendly sweetener.
Sticky and Crunchy Foods
Caramel-covered popcorn and other sticky, crunchy holiday foods are very bad for your teeth. These snacks can get caught in between your teeth or stuck in places your toothbrush doesn’t reach, increasing your risk of tooth decay. If any food gets stuck between your teeth, make sure to floss right away.
Keep Your Teeth Clean This Holiday Season
Even if you only eat snacks that are good for your teeth, you still need to maintain good oral hygiene during the holidays to prevent cavities. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and schedule regular professional cleanings to protect your smile.
If you experience any tooth pain or sensitivity over the holidays, don’t hesitate to contact Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, Arizona. For dental emergencies on a holiday or after hours, call 928-445-6030.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/29/2021). Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels