Between Halloween and New Year’s Day, the waistlines and oral health of Americans tend to take a toll. Who can resist the lavish pumpkin, cranberry, peppermint, and chocolates that beckon from every coffee shop and restaurant? Spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger make homes smell like the holidays, and flavorful memories of holidays past bubble up in conversations: Grandma’s cranberry sauce, Uncle Don’s green bean casserole, Mom’s from-scratch hot chocolate.
The less processed the food, the healthier it is in many cases. As general dentists, Drs. Silverman and Morton want you to eat a healthy but pleasing diet and enjoy high quality of life, throughout your life. These tips can help your pursuit of eating healthy as you wade through tables of holiday treats.
Eat cheese before drinking wine – Both red and white wine are acidic and can harm tooth enamel with repeated, long-term exposure. Red wine also stains teeth. Cheese coats the teeth with oil, which protects tooth enamel from the acids in wine.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients – Poached pears, cinnamon apples, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes tantalize the tastebuds. Though many recipes use real sugar for sauces and toppings, fruits and veggies are a wiser choice than chips and candies.
Cheese and nuts, the perfect pairing – Though overindulging isn’t advised, cheese and nuts are healthy treats often incorporated into charcuterie boards during the holidays. A reasonable sampling will add calcium and vitamins to your diet.
Avoid hard and sticky treats – Caramel toppings and fillings can wreak havoc on dental work, pulling loose fillings and crowns. Biting on a candy cane or using your teeth to crack a pecan can cause tooth chips and crazing (weblike cracks in enamel). Instead of chewy and hard foods, select softer options like chocolate instead of taffy and peppermint cocoa instead of a peppermint stick.
Limit starches – Cakes, cookies, pretzels, and crackers contain starches that feed oral bacteria and lead to cavities. If you choose starchy foods, follow the snack by rinsing your mouth out with pure water. The longer starches (including sugar) remain on teeth, the higher the risk of cavities.
Limit sugar (a starch) – This is very difficult advice to follow during the holidays! If you dislike sugar substitutes, try some of the newer, more natural options, like coconut sugar, monkfruit sugar, or agave syrup in recipes. If you plan to sample many desserts, cut small pieces to create your own mini-servings. You’ll enjoy the diverse flavors without compromising your calorie intake!
At a buffet or dinner, don’t overfill your plate – To try everything that appeals to your eyes and nose, take small portions of the selections instead of full servings. When you eat, start with veggies, fruits, nuts, and cheeses to take the edge off your hunger. Opt out of rolls and biscuits.
Healthy Holiday Treat Recipes
Now for the recipes you’ve been waiting for! General dentistry approved, these recipes will give you excellent, healthy alternatives to some of the fat and sugar-filled dishes you’re accustomed to seeing on the holiday table. They may inspire you to get creative with your family’s favorite recipes, as well!
General dentists Dr. Silverman and Dr. Morton bring a full scope of dental services to Alpharetta families. While both offer mainstream dental treatments, Dr. Silverman likes sports dentistry, sleep dentistry, and cosmetics. He particularly enjoys full-mouth restoration cases. Dr. Morton enjoys placing and restoring dental implants, and delivering full smile makeovers. They believe that together, their training and experience bring patients the best that modern dentistry has to offer.
A Sparkling Smile and Minty-Fresh Breath
Toothpicks abound on holiday tablescapes, spearing everything from olives and sausages to fruits and cheeses. Oftentimes, partygoers will use a toothpick to clean teeth after eating, but this isn’t the best choice. We hope that you’ll, instead, pack a small pouch of on-the-go oral hygine helpers and use them after eating out.
In a baggie or zippered pouch, pack a:
Mini toothpaste tube
Floss or flossers
Excuse yourself and do a quick brushing, flossing, and breath freshening in the restroom. This takes less than five minutes, and it will not only protect your oral health, but you’ll feel fresh as a spruce needle with clean breath and a sparkling smile!
The Alpharetta General Dentistry Team for Your Loved Ones