Holiday foods that support good physical and dental health can be part of the fun as we swing into the season.
It’s that wonderful time of year when calendars are filled with holiday parties, family visits and lots of food. This holiday, enjoy the many delights of the season, including traditional foods, many of which are good for your teeth.
Aside from practicing moderation when indulging in desserts, by following a few guidelines, you don’t have to resist the delicious draw of your favorite holiday foods.
Holiday foods to enjoy
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, lavish meals are the hallmark of the holiday season. Don’t deprive yourself of the cornucopia of treats this year but do make a point of making sure to eat foods that are better for your health.
Holiday foods that are nutritious and good for your dental health:
Vegetables — Almost any kind of cooked and raw vegetable is good for your health, but some are better than others. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and kale are low in calories and high in vitamins like calcium. Broccoli, carrots and celery are high fiber foods that, when eaten raw, help scrub your teeth like nature’s very own toothbrush.
Cheese — Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, strengthening teeth and bone. It also increases saliva production, which keeps your teeth free from plaque buildup. But if you’re watching your weight, don’t overdo it, since the calories in cheese can add up quickly.
Turkey — A tradition at Thanksgiving, turkey is a low-calorie lean meat. Turkey also contains phosphorus which strengthens teeth and bones.
Cranberries — One of nature’s superfoods, the high nutritional value of cranberries has been linked to improved immune function, lower blood pressure and even cancer prevention. Not only are cranberries good for your overall health, they’re good for your teeth too. That’s because cranberries contain a nutrient that prevents plaque from sticking to your teeth and gums. This hinders cavities from forming and prevent gum disease. This holiday season, why not try making your own cranberry orange relish from fresh fruit? It’s lower in calorie than the canned variety and it takes only five minutes to prepare. Plus, the oranges provide you with a healthy dose of added vitamin C.
Nuts — Filled with nutrients, fiber and healthy fats, nuts are good for the gums. Try to steer clear of candied nuts, and whatever you do, don’t crack nuts open with your teeth.
Desserts — No holiday meal is complete without dessert. Feel free to enjoy pies, cakes and cookies, but make smart choices. Desserts that are high in sugar and of no nutritional value are a main cause of tooth decay. Sticky foods like pecan pies, caramels and fruitcakes cause sugar to stick to your teeth. If you do indulge, make sure to do so in moderation, and always remember to brush and floss your teeth before you go to bed.
Keep your dental health top of mind this holiday season. If you are due for a checkup visit or would like to meet with Dr. Jayne to discuss teeth whitening options to look your best this season, contact us via our webform or give us a call at 425-644-2205.