It’s that time of year when holiday parties fill our calendars. All the upcoming socializing with friends and family means your teeth and your smile will be on full display. What you eat and drink during the holidays will affect your dental health for longer than a season. We put together some suggestions on what to do and of course, what not to do, to get you through the rest of the year!
Keep that smile merry and bright
Foods and drinks to enhance that sparkly smile:
Broccoli – Almost like a toothbrush, this veggie will scrub the teeth best from eating it raw. It’s also high in iron which protects your teeth from staining and harmful bacteria.
Strawberries – This seems crazy, right? Strawberries are high in malic acid which acts as a natural whitener. You can even mash one up with some baking soda and put it on your toothbrush!
Onions – There’s a catch – you need to eat them raw. Onions contain a high level of sulfur which keeps plaque from building up on your teeth. And chances are you’ll brush your teeth after a meal that had raw onions!
Apples – So an apple a day isn’t going to keep the dentist away (that’s a twice a year commitment), but it is going to keep your gums healthy with that crunchy texture, and create saliva which helps clear out harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Nuts and seeds – Cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and sesame seeds have abrasive textures that scrub your teeth as you chew. (They also are packed with protein which is an added bonus!) Just be careful that when you eat nuts you don’t grab a big handful. Small modest amounts at a time will help ensure you don’t crack a tooth by accident.
Dairy products – Cheese, yogurt, and milk contain lactic acid and the enamel-fortifying mineral calcium, which strengthen teeth while also whitening them.
Water – During the holiday season when you may overindulge in alcohol, be sure to stay hydrated – even if it’s just to swish in between beverages. Some alcohol is staining, but all of it contains sugar. A little extra water will help your mouth stay clean while you celebrate.
How to avoid a frown
Stay away from these items to ensure your dental health through the holidays:
Starch – Watch out for all the starchy holiday foods that taste so good, because the bacteria in your mouth love them, too.
Fruitcake – Here’s a legitimate excuse to avoid the least enjoyed holiday cake. Its high sugar content leads to tooth decay.
Spiked eggnog – With alcohol and sugar, this seasonal beverage is best enjoyed sparingly. Use good judgment and limit your intake.
While you’re enjoying this long-awaited time of year, don’t forget that your oral routine isn’t on vacation. You may even want to get in an extra brush and floss while you’re at it. Your friends and family won’t mind. Everyone wants to see you keep that healthy and happy smile.