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You Are What You Eat — The Best and Worst Foods to Eat This Holiday Season

A Food Guide for the Holidays

The common phrase “You are what you eat” holds true when referring to your oral health. Many foods encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and plaque on your teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay and various other dental conditions.

During the holidays, friends and family gather to celebrate, give thanks, and spread joy. Holiday parties generally come with large feasts filled with traditional dishes, mouthwatering sides, and delectable desserts. However, the ingredients that makeup holiday meals typically differ from your daily dietary habits. Recipes may call for additional cups of sugar and flour to create a sweet treat.

As you prepare your menus for the holidays this season, keep in mind which foods are the best and worst for your teeth to keep your pearly whites healthy and bright.

Foods to Include

If you are contemplating which foods to add to your holiday meals, here are some to consider that will be both equally delicious and good for your teeth:

Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

According to the American Dental Association, foods with fiber are beneficial for many reasons. Fruits and vegetables specifically are packed with nutrients as well as high water and fiber contents. The water and fiber help balance out the natural sugars of the fruits and vegetables, reducing your risk for tooth decay and cavities.

Additionally, raw fruits and vegetables help scrub your teeth and remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth as you chew. In turn, chewing increases saliva production, which also washes away food particles and other harmful bacteria.

Providing a salad with fall flavors or a dish with roasted vegetables could be a great addition to the holiday table.

Dairy Products

While some health professionals may tell you only to eat dairy in moderation, we are here to tell you how great dairy products can be for your teeth! Milk, cheese, and yogurt are often low in sugar which is beneficial for your dental health. They are, additionally, high in protein, which is also an excellent nutrient for keeping your teeth strong.

Dairy is also full of calcium and phosphates, which put minerals back in your mouth that you may have lost due to other foods such as sugars and starches. Remineralization aids in the rebuilding of tooth enamel, which also keeps your smile healthy!

A cheese plate appetizer or yogurt parfait dessert are great options to add to your holiday table.

Foods to Have in Moderation

Proteins such as lean meats and fish are staples to a holiday meal. However, some foods you might find on the table could be harmful to your smile. Here are certain foods to have in moderation to prevent tooth decay:

Starches

People may avoid staches because they are known to be high in carbohydrates, but what most don’t know is that they actually contribute a great deal to tooth decay. When you chew starches such as bread, pasta, or potatoes, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. The sugar then sticks to your teeth in the form of plaque and bacteria. These harmful bacteria then contribute to cavities and tooth decay.

Starches also easily get stuck in the crevices of your teeth. To prevent this from happening, always have a glass of water to help wash down any remaining food particles and bacteria that may have stuck to your teeth.

Unfortunately, this means helping yourself to smaller portions of the beloved mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese will create long-term oral health benefits.

Sugars

It is no secret that sugar is damaging to your teeth. After consumption, the sugar turns into plaque and bacteria that then produce acid, damaging the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth that protects them from decay.

Cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie, cookies, and brownies are all packed with sugar. Sugars are also found in popular beverages such as juices, sodas, and even alcoholic cocktails. Limiting consumption of these popular holiday treats will be beneficial to your smile.

High-Quality Dental Care in New Jersey

Because the holidays only come around one time per year, consuming starches and sugars won’t cause an extreme risk for tooth decay. However, it is something to keep in the back of your mind as you fill your bellies with your favorite treats.

At Access Dental, our team is here to deliver an unparalleled patient experience. In the event of a cavity or tooth decay, our dental professionals can restore your smile with the utmost care.

For personalized and compassionate dentistry, call us today at (973) 358-6266 or contact us online.

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