With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, the holiday season is here once again! Are you prepared to protect your oral health this fall and winter? It’s no secret that much of the food we eat around the holidays isn’t exactly mouth-healthy. From pumpkin pie to hot chocolate, many treats are loaded with sugar. Check out the list below from a dentist to learn which holiday foods to avoid (or at least limit) in the coming weeks.
Starchy and delicious, Thanksgiving stuffing is unfortunately quite bad for your teeth. It doesn’t matter whether your stuffing is served as a side dish or cooked inside the turkey. Either way, it is primarily made up of carbohydrates, which the body breaks down into sugar. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and secrete harmful acids that attack tooth enamel.
#2: Dried Fruit
Fruit is typically considered a healthy food group, but dried fruits are another story. Apricots, dates, and other dried fruits contain high levels of sugar and can easily get stuck to your teeth. The longer that sugar sticks around in your mouth, the higher your risk of tooth decay climbs. If you do snack on dried fruits during the holidays, be sure to brush and floss afterward.
#3: Berry Pies
While pumpkin pie may contain a lot of sugar, pies made from berries are actually doubly bad for your teeth. In addition to being sugary, berry pies can also stain your enamel. While it may be difficult, try to limit the number of times you visit the dessert table. Want a pro tip? Chew on sugar-free gum after eating a holiday meal to satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming sugar. Chewing gum also provokes saliva production, which helps wash away food debris and bacteria.
Eggnog – you either love it or hate it. Do you know who definitely loves this controversial holiday beverage? Oral bacteria! Eggnog is loaded with sugar, which bacteria digest to produce harmful acids. Of course, this drink also contains alcohol, which isn’t great for your teeth either. For a warm beverage on a cold day, choose green tea instead.
#5: Candy Canes
Leave your candy canes hanging on the Christmas tree. Not only are these peppermint treats basically pure sugar, but they also stick to your teeth. If you must indulge, consume candy canes in moderation and be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
You can enjoy the holiday season and prevent cavities at the same time if you know what holiday foods and drinks to avoid. Keep the above tips in mind as you celebrate the upcoming festivities. Happy holidays!
About the Author
Dr. Bo Crofoot has over 15 years of experience helping patients maintain healthy smiles all year round. The proud Idaho State University graduate regularly takes continuing education classes to stay on top of the latest dental techniques and technology. For more tips on how to enjoy holiday foods without harming your oral health, visit the Cornerstone Family Dental website or call 208-656-2225.