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Many of us will attend events this month that are filled not just with holiday cheer, but with lots of food. From family dinners to office parties, let us help you make healthier food choices. Some popular holiday foods and drinks are terrible for your teeth, while others aren’t so bad.

Of course, you should brush and floss your teeth every day. That helps keep your teeth in great shape no matter what you eat. And consider coming to see us for a dental cleaning and exam after the holidays are over. It’s a great way to start off the new year!

In the meantime here is a guide to healthy holiday eating for your reference. If you have any questions about it or you want to schedule an appointment, call us at 972-380-8105.

On the Nice List: Enjoy Veggies, Nuts, and Cheese

Some of the items you’ll find on buffet tables at holiday parties are healthier food choices. For instance, most spreads have a vegetable tray filled with raw veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli. They are high in fiber and water, two things that are great for your teeth – and for the rest of you too.

Eating them also spurs production of saliva, which helps rinse away food particles and the bacteria that causes decay. If you decide to indulge in sugary treats, eating veggies afterward can help prevent cavities. In addition, many vegetables also contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums) and vitamin A (a nutrient that helps build tooth enamel).

For many of the same reasons, cooked vegetables are generally good too. There are exceptions, though. Some vegetables served at the holiday table, like corn and potatoes, contain lots of sugar and/or starch. Those substances can cause dental problems.

Feel free to hit the cheese tray at the buffet table. Cheese contains plenty of calcium and protein, two substances that strengthen your tooth enamel. Nuts are fine too, because they also contain substances that are good for teeth, like folic acid and magnesium.

If a variety of candy is being served, choose chocolate over hard or sticky candies. Sticky and hard candies tend to cling to your teeth. Chocolate washes away much more quickly, so does less dental damage.

On the Naughty List: Limit Consumption of These Treats

There’s a longer list of foods you should avoid – or at least try to limit your consumption. They include:

  • Potato Chips – The starch in chips quickly turns to sugar, which causes problems for teeth. In addition, bits of chips can get caught in your teeth. If possible, floss after eating chips.
  • Soft Breads Like Rolls – Similarly, soft breads tend to turn to a sugar-filled paste when you’re eating them.
  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol dries out your mouth. And a lack of saliva makes it easier for bacteria in your mouth to cause cavities.
  • Soda – These beverages contains lots of destructive sugars and acids. Because acid weakens enamel, it’s actually best to wait a while after drinking a soda before brushing your teeth. Otherwise, you risk damaging enamel. As if all that isn’t bad enough, dark sodas can also stain teeth. Coffee and tea are similarly bad for teeth, if you add lots of sugar to them before drinking.

If you’d like more information, call our office at 972-380-8105. We’re happy to talk to you about healthier food choices any time!