Happy Holidays! It’s Our Favorite Time of Year…to Eat!
Let’s face it. Food choices at holiday parties can be overwhelming. What’s best for your waistline? What’s healthy for your teeth and what’s not? “Too much of a good thing” is never more true than during the holiday season. Avoid cavities this holiday season (and stay healthy) by choosing nice alternatives to naughty sugary offenders. It is completely impractical to suggest complete avoidance of holiday goodies, so try enjoying in moderation to make sure you receive the gift of great oral health!
Take our quick quiz below and see if you know which treat is best for your teeth!
Q: If you’re trying to avoid staining your teeth – red or white wine?
A: White wine. Both red and white wine contain acids that can attack enamel, the hard covering that protects your teeth. Acid can leave ruts and grooves on your teeth making them susceptible to staining. Red wine stains worse than white because it contains the pigment chromogen.
Q: What’s the best festive drink – Eggnog, hot chocolate, or apple cider?
A: Festive beverages offer more than warm, holiday cheer. Traditional eggnog mix contains around 22 grams of sugar and 19 grams of fat, making it a very sweet beverage that’s sure to add on calories. Hot chocolate is a low- calorie alternative that can satisfy your sweet tooth without destroying the rest of your teeth. Without marshmallows, hot chocolate contains only 15 grams of sugar and less than half the calories of eggnog. Hot cider can pack over 65 grams of sugar when you add on caramel sauce and whipped cream. Stick to one small serving of your favorite drink and wash away some of the sticky sugar residue with a glass of water.
Q: If you’re not drinking alcohol at the party, which is better – club soda with lime or punch?
A: Club soda. Although you might think punch is a healthier alternative, because it contains fruit, it’s also chock full of sugar. Sugary drinks tend to be high in fat and calories, but low in nutrients. Plus the bacteria in our mouth love sugar. But the sugar turns to acids that attack our teeth causing cavities. And cavities hurt!
Q: Cheese platter or chip bowl?
A: Cheese. The calcium in cheese helps replace minerals in your teeth that may have been lost by eating less healthy foods. Starchy foods like chips can get trapped between teeth providing a feast for bacteria.
Q: Cookies or Candy Canes?
A: Neither. L It’s tempting to overindulge when there is an abundance of baked goods, like Christmas cookies, laying around. But cookies are loaded with sugar and can do significant damage to your pearly whites. Of course, we know suggesting skipping cookies entirely is impractical. Just enjoy them in moderation. The problem with candy canes is the prolonged amount of time that they linger as you slowly dissolve them in your mouth. Add in the temptation to bite them, which can lead to cracks or chips in your teeth. Consume them quickly and carefully to limit their negative oral health impact. So enjoy them in moderation.
Q: Chocolates or caramels?
A: Believe it or not, chocolate! Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth, giving it less contact with teeth. Chewy, sticky candies like toffee, taffy or caramels are more damaging because they linger on teeth, because not only are they high in sugar, they and are more difficult for saliva to break down. The same rule applies to all those sparkly gumdrops on your gingerbread house.
Q: Meatballs? Or Shrimp?
A: If you have a choice between meatballs and shrimp, definitely opt for the seafood. Adding sugary barbeque sauce to this appetizer makes it a tasty but potentially destructive recipe that will stick to your teeth long after the snack is gone. To avoid the calories and tooth decay, try eating shrimp instead. Bonus: shrimp has virtually no sugar, a plus for your teeth.
Q: Pecan Pie a la Mode or Chocolate Fondue?
A: Chocolate Fondue. Desserts like pecan pie a la mode hold a traditional place at the dinner table, but try some chocolate fondue instead. While pecans are relatively healthy nuts, the pie filling is a syrupy, sugar-packed mixture. Chocolate fondue is a fun substitute that works both as food and entertainment. Use fruit for dipping to give this dessert an extra healthy kick, and remember to brush and floss after you eat to maximize the holiday cheer.
Cookies, candy and sweet holiday beverages all have at least one main ingredient in common: sugar, and sugar’s negative effect on teeth has been well-documented. Why is sugar so bad for your teeth? It mixes with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. The stickiness of that plaque keeps those harmful acids against the teeth, which contributes to tooth decay.
When you do indulge your holiday sweet tooth, it’s best to enjoy goodies as part of, or immediately following a meal, rather than snacking on treats throughout the day. Another good tip to is to stick to one small serving of your favorite drink or snack and to follow up by swishing around some water, chew sugar-free gum, or brush soon after finishing to wash away some of the sticky sugar residue.
It’s unlikely you’ll be the perfect eater this holiday season, but these tips will help. Enjoy your holiday season by being smart about what you eat!
All of us here at McGann Facial Design wish you a most wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!