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Holiday Food: What’s Naughty and What’s Nice

Diabetics 1 in Montgomery, AL by Dr. Chet Swartzentruber of Carmichael Dental Care

Eating a lot of naughty holiday food this time of the year can negatively affect your dental health – and your waistline too. If you stick mostly to nicer foods, your smile will remain healthy. Since we’re in the thick of parties and other events, our dentists have provided a guide to healthy holiday eating. If you have any questions about it or you want to schedule an appointment, call us at 334-600-1423.

No matter what you eat, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day. Brush two times a day, for at least two minutes each time. Consider coming to see us for a dental cleaning and exam after the holidays are over. It’s a great way to start off the new year!

Choose Nice Holiday Food

Not all holiday food is bad for your teeth. For instance, many buffet tables have a vegetable tray filled with raw veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli. These foods are high in fiber and water, two things that are good for your body, including your teeth.

Eating raw veggies also encourages production of saliva, which helps rinse away food particles along with the bacteria that causes cavities. Since they are almost like a “natural toothbrush,” eating vegetables after consuming sugary treats can help prevent cavities. Many vegetables also contain vitamins that are good for your dental health, like vitamin C (for healthy gums) and vitamin A (helps build tooth enamel).

For many of the same reasons, cooked vegetables are also a generally good choice. Some vegetables served at the holiday table, like corn and potatoes, contain lots of sugar and/or starch. Since those substances can cause dental problems, it’s best to eat fewer of them in favor of leafy greens and carrots.

If there is a cheese tray go ahead and have some. Cheese has lots of calcium and protein, two substances that strengthen your teeth. Nuts are another good option, because they also contain substances that are good for teeth, like folic acid and magnesium.

Some candy is nicer than others. If a variety of candy is being served, choose chocolate over hard or sticky candies. Sorry, candy canes! Chocolate washes away much more quickly than sticky or hard candies, so does less dental damage.

Limit Consumption of Naughty Holiday Food

You should avoid – or at least try to limit your consumption – of naughty holiday food. Some of the more problematic treats include:

  • Potato Chips – Starch in potato chips quickly turns to sugar. In addition, bits of chips can get caught in your teeth where they’ll do even more damage. If possible, floss after eating chips.
  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol dries out your mouth. A shortage of saliva makes it easier for bacteria in your mouth to create decay.
  • Soda – These beverages contains lots of destructive sugars and acids. Because acid weakens enamel, wait a while after drinking a soda before brushing your teeth. Otherwise, you risk damaging enamel. Heavy consumption of dark sodas can also stain teeth. Coffee and tea are similarly poor choices, if you add lots of sugar to them before drinking.

More Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

To help limit the damage caused by naughty foods, consume them during part of a larger meal. Drink lots of water, if possible. It’s your smartest beverage choice. It’s non-staining, contains no substances harmful to your teeth, and helps rinse away destructive sugars and acids. We’re always happy to answer your questions. If you’d like more information, call our office at 334-600-1423.

 

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