Festive Foods: The Do’s and Don’t this Holiday Season
Christmas is right around the corner…
That’s right, it's that time of year again where we start celebrating. Typically, Christmas is synonymous with festive foods, drinks, friends, family, and of course, presents. However, given the current circumstances, a socially distanced celebration will likely be the reality for most of us this year.
Accordingly, we may overcompensate for the “unusual” festive period this year. As lockdown restrictions inhibit non-distanced socializing, excess Christmas decorations and overindulging in food is the most likely scenario for homes all across the nation. While we embrace this with open arms given the year we’ve had, it's important that we are mindful of our dental health over the holidays. Some foods that we eat over Christmas have great nutritional value, but some are terrible perpetrators for plaque. In this article, we will discuss the good and bad types of festive food and drinks, to help you make conscious decisions about your oral health.
What food are BAD for your oral health
Chocolate and Sweets
We know Christmas would not be Christmas without candy. It’s almost impossible to think about the festive season without chocolate and sweets. However, their overall effect on your oral health is extremely damaging, should you choose to consume excessive amounts on a continuous basis.
Chocolate and sweets both contain high volumes of sugar; the tooth's biggest enemy. Typically, both of these food substances deliver high doses of sugar into the mouth, which cultivates bacterial growth, plaque, and gum disease. Bacteria in the mouth turns sugar into acids, which eats away at the surface of your teeth, rendering decay and cavities over time.
We acknowledge that chocolate is such a HUGE part of Christmas, so we’re not saying to completely refrain from eating ANY chocolates. However, be cautious when consuming such products to avoid unwanted trips to the dentist in the new year. It takes our mouths between 20 minutes and 2 hours to re-balance the decay-causing acids which are produced by eating sugars; therefore, grazing on sweet treats keeps the teeth under constant attack.
Top Tip: if you’re going to eat chocolate, keep consumption to a minimum as opposed to continued binging over the holidays. If you are going to eat any, then it may be best to do it after a meal, when your teeth are already being challenged with acids from your normal diet. Afterward, Brush for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste to help protect the teeth.
Toffees / Candy
These types of food products are a dentists worst nightmare. It's sugar, sticky and hard. Indeed, their texture makes them one of the most damaging desserts to your teeth. Their hard exterior can render a cracked or chipped tooth, unless you softly suck away at the sweetie for a prolonged period of time until it reduces in size. However, this still has a drastic impact on your oral health, as the longer your teeth are exposed to the candy, the more sugar and acid available to attack your tooth’s enamel. Again, keep consumption to a minimum for healthy teeth.
Dried fruit features in a lot of our festive food products such as mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. All of this may seem like a healthier option, given that it is of course ‘fruit’. Contrary to popular beliefs, however, these types of food products are extremely high in sugar. Not only is the sugar content high in these foods, but these sweets can also get stuck in between your teeth or even cause damage to dental appliances or tooth fillings.
What Foods and Drinks are GOOD for you
It may not be the best for the waistline, but it is for your teeth?
For all those cheese lovers out there, you will be happy to know that cheese is great for your teeth. The high calcium content in most cheese products ensures that your teeth will remain strong and healthy. There’s also studies that stipulate eating cheese after a meal is a great way to neutralize the acidity levels in your mouth, so get your cheese boards out this festive season.
Similar to that of cheese, milk comes packed with calcium and has a neutral acidity level. Drinking milk makes your teeth stronger and protects tooth enamel. It also strengthens your jaw bone, which can help you keep your natural teeth longer, and fights tooth decay.
Nuts, especially almonds, are a good option for your teeth. They are a great choice for snacking because they are high in protein and calcium but low in fat and sugar. Make sure you choose the natural kind and not the sugared or honey-roasted as you snack this festive season.
At Procopio Towle Dental Practice, we care about your teeth. We understand that you may want to indulge in some delicious and rich food products, but make sure that you think about the overall welfare of your teeth during the holidays. No one wants to have to check-in at the dentist in the new year for some fillings, sealants, dentures or crowns as a result of sugary snacks.