Looking for a way to keep your smile healthy and bright during holiday meals? Say cheese. And not just for the pictures. Literally!
The best foods to clean and protect your pearly whites during the holiday food frenzy include: cheese (yup), yogurt, and salmon; fruits like kiwi, strawberries, apples, pineapples, and lemons; and the vegetables broccoli, carrots, kale, chard, butternut squash, collard greens and shitake mushrooms. And don’t underestimate the power of seasonings. Basil, ginger, sea salt, and wasabi can keep your breath fresh and protect tooth enamel.
Your worst choices? No big surprises. Try to avoid teas (much worse than coffee as far as staining is concerned), coffee (also a big culprit), soft drinks (straws help if you must indulge), punch drinks, blueberry pie, sticky foods, cranberries,popcorn, eggnog, candy canes, and hot cocoa.
“But who cares?” you might think. “It’s just for a meal or two…and we’re just talking about teeth, right?”
Because the truth is that making unhealthy choices during any holiday meal can lead not only to discoloration and gum disease (say goodbye to those expensive whitening-product results), but to a throbbing toothache, the agony of which can be akin to the pains of giving birth or passing a stone. Now, that would take the “happy” out of any holiday.
Plus, our winter holidays in particular make us most vulnerable to tooth problems because:
- Excess plaque results from combinations of starch and sugar, available in abundance at these types of meals (pastries, breads, pies, cakes, etc).
- Most holiday goers graze ALL DAY LONG in addition to sitting down for meals, leaving food on teeth for excessive periods of time.
- People tend to brush less carefully and later in the day as a result of longer days and exhaustion.
It’s also important to remember that the mouth and the teeth are not separate from, but are important parts of the body. Neglect can beget all types of more complex general-health issues.
So what’s a celebrator to do? Well, besides making some mouth-and-tooth-happy choices, follow these guidelines:
- Each rich foods as part of a meal (rather than before) so your excess saliva will eliminate residue.
- Rinse your mouth with water during the day if you can, and certainly before brushing at night.
- Bring a travel toothbrush and sugar-free gum to your event, both of which (bonus) will also motivate you to eat less.
And if you get confused or caught up, just remember this: If it’s good for your body, it’s good for your mouth…and vice versa. Make healthy, preventative choices and you’ll be rewarded–during the holidays and all year long.
P.S. Need help choosing the perfect dental plan for you and your family at the best rates anywhere? Please call us at 1-855-203-7640 to speak to a specialist, orcheck out our plan at any time.