When we sit down to our holiday feasts, we typically think of the damage all of that food is doing to our waistlines. Seldom do we think of the damage that is being done to our teeth. Starches, sweets, sodas and wine are staples of our dinner tables, but they are some of the worst foods for dental health.
To help prevent damage and decay, keep your teeth in mind when you pile your plate this season. Focus on the following foods to make your mouth (and your dentist) happy over the holidays.
Focus on Fiber-Rich Foods
Appetizers are often some of the best foods for dental health, so hit the crudites platter hard. Fibrous foods act as a detergent for your mouth, reducing the effects of enzymes and acids. Fresh vegetables and nuts are great choices; they produce extra saliva as you chew, which prevents decay and helps eliminate oral bacteria. Nuts are chock-full of calcium, adding to the minerals and phosphates already in your saliva working to remineralize your teeth.
Fruit can also be a good choice, provided that it does not have a high sugar or acid content. Opt for fresh pears, which help neutralize acid on tooth surfaces, or pomegranates which can help remove plaque. Both are good sources of Vitamin C, which is essential for gum health.
The Bird is The Word
For a tooth-friendly dose of protein and vitamins, turkey is a dental all-star. Protein is a good source of phosphorous which is great for bones and teeth when combined with calcium and vitamin D. This meat can be stringy and get caught between teeth, however, so be sure to floss after you feast.
Loaded with calcium, this party platter staple is a great option for dental health. Cheese contains casein, a protein that strengthens the surface of your teeth and helps prevent cavities. All milk products, including yogurt and whipped cream, are loaded with calcium to add minerals back into teeth that have been stripped by acids. For some of us, the mere sight of a good aged cheddar is enough to get us drooling, though all cheeses are excellent for increasing the amount of saliva in our mouths.
Can you even have a holiday dinner without cranberries? This seasonal favorite is a plaque- busting health heavyweight, loaded with potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and many other vitamins and minerals. Skip the can, though, and make your own; canned cranberry sauce is full of added sugar. By crafting it from scratch, you can control the level of sugar and avoid unnecessary added ingredients.
Get Your Drink On
Skip the soda—the best dental bang-for-your-buck is a glass of cold water. Plain tap water is a good source of a dentist’s’ favorite—fluoride—which can help to reverse the damage caused by acids and build enamel. Another choice is tea; both green and black tea are packed with bacteria-killing polyphenols, making them natural cavity fighters.
In addition to being good for your teeth, these healthy dinner options are great choices if you are watching your waistline. As you enjoy your holiday dinner, take a moment to be thankful for good dental health. For more information about tooth-friendly foods contact our dentist in Anaheim, Ca today!