Healthy and Happy Holidays
Few holidays conjure up images of food like the Christmas season. Only the Grinch would try to steal your enjoyment of that caramel popcorn Aunt Norma sent from Kansas or the sugar cookies someone meticulously decorated just for you. But there can definitely be too much of a good thing when it comes to holiday sweets.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Unfortunately when it comes to Christmas goodies, the good and the bad can meld together and turn ugly. Sugar cookies and homemade toffee may taste good, but can cause sugar buildup on your teeth. If the kids fall asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, but forgot a visit with the toothbrush before bedtime, that can add up to cavities. Add in a carbonated soft drink and chips and you could be setting yourself up for some real dental issues.
Nobody expects you to give up all holiday treats, not even your dentist. But, there are ways to enjoy the delights of the season and still avoid getting too much of a good thing.
Easy On the Christmas Sweets
- Avoid the sweets that stay in your mouth a long time like candy canes, caramel and baked goods with lots of processed sugar. They linger in your mouth, causing damage and a higher risk of tooth decay. Wash it down with milk or water. Better yet, brush and floss regularly.
- Eggnog and hot cocoa are loaded with sugar, too. You’re better off with a glass of milk, hot tea or water. Skip carbonated beverages, too. Some studies indicate they’re the leading cause of too much sugar among kids and teens. And most of them also contain acids that can damage tooth enamel.
- Potato chips and holiday breads have a lot of starch in them. They can get stuck between your teeth and cause plaque build-up.
There are usually healthy options available at the holidays.
- Try raw vegetables. Broccoli increases saliva production and also helps to prevent cavities thanks to vitamin A.
- Snack on nuts. Healthy fatty acids can help prevent gum disease. But, if they’re in the shell, don’t try cracking them with your teeth.
- Snack on cheese. This helps you increase saliva which lowers the risk of decay. The extra calcium is good for your teeth, too.
With the holidays upon us, we don’t expect you to refrain from enjoying yourself. Just keep in mind that what you eat can affect your overall health, including your teeth. Brush and floss regularly. And from Jones & Zirker Family Dentistry, Happy Holidays!