We know, holiday sweets are irresistible… but they’re also often not so great for your teeth. Those gingerbread lattes and slices of pecan pie aren’t doing your mouth any favors, even if they are festive. Fortunately, it’s surprisingly easy to enjoy holiday snacks that protect your oral health instead of harming your teeth and gums. Check out Blue Ridge Family Dentistry’s holiday snack list below and find the balance between the sweets and healthier snacking.
Why Are Holiday Snacks Often Bad For Your Teeth?
First things first, why does “holiday snacking” wreak havoc on teeth (and waistline)? Holiday snacks are often bad for your teeth because they’re loaded with sugar and plenty of times we find ourselves snacking all day long throughout the holidays. The naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar to create acids and plaque. Harsh acids break down the tooth enamel responsible for protecting the underlying layers and nerves of your teeth, while plaque accumulates to trigger decay.
If you can’t keep your holiday snacking under control and maintain regular brushing and flossing, you run the risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, etc. This is especially true if you like to snack throughout the day on those tempting treats in the lunch room at work; your teeth and gums are constantly bombarded by sugars and acids that encourage decay instead of stopping it.
Healthy and Tasty Ideas
Luckily, it isn’t hard to find holiday treats that are healthy and delicious. You won’t feel like you’re missing out on conventional treats when you have these tooth-friendly alternatives on your plate.
Fruit is one of the most versatile snack choices out there, especially when it comes to themed food. The natural sugars found in fruit aren’t nearly as bad as the added sugars lurking in baked goods and processed treats.
Make your fruit festive with “Grinch Poppers”: A grape to create the face of the Grinch, topped with a hat made from a strawberry and small slice of banana. You can skip the traditional marshmallow used in these. The sweet fruit will satisfy your sugar craving while also nourishing your mouth and body with nutrients and antioxidants. It’s a win-win and a crowd-pleaser.
Believe it or not, pumpkin pie has the potential to be very mouth-friendly! Simply use a recipe that cuts the amount of sugar without sacrificing flavor. This is easy to do when you skip the whipped cream! Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A and fiber, so your gums and enamel will appreciate it.
Nuts and Cheese
Nuts and cheese are both great for your teeth and festive in their own ways.
Nuts actually stimulate saliva production as you chew, which makes it easier to clear away debris and bacteria. They also gently scrub your teeth. Cheese is packed with the calcium that your enamel needs to remain strong. Create a cheese and nut plate for a healthy, fiber-rich snack. If you’re feeling especially festive, you can create cheesy reindeer with small pretzels for ears and red pepper for the nose! Or spread fruit, cheese and nuts in different layers to make a Christmas tree.
Once the holidays are over, make sure you visit your dentist in Charlottesville for a checkup and cleaning. The team at Blue Ridge Family Dentistry is committed to helping you maintain the best oral health possible.