Are you looking forward to the holidays? The beautiful decorations, lively parties and gatherings with loved ones, the celebration of beloved family customs. And, of course, the food. This is the time of year that we bring out the recipes that have been in the family for generations. It’s a way of connecting with our ancestors and carrying on tradition.
This is the magic of the holiday season and we would never suggest you forgo your family’s favorite recipes.
But you can stay true to tradition and tweak your family’s spread to incorporate a few delicious and tooth-friendly touches too (if you don’t do so already). Read on to learn about a few foods that are great for your teeth and will make an excellent addition to any holiday menu.
And don’t forget to book your family’s dental appointments at Edgewood Dental Care. Call our Edgewood, KY office at 859-474-7830.
Holiday Foods to Make Your Guests Smile
These good eats are not only delicious, they help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. So go ahead and indulge in a (small) cup of eggnog — but counter its sugary effects with some oral-health-friendly nibbles.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews — it’s okay for you and your guests to go nuts for nuts. Nuts are loaded with mouth- and body-boosting vitamins and minerals. They are also low in carbohydrates. This means they don’t cause decay-causing bacteria to proliferate and release acids that destroy your enamel. The act of chewing nuts increases the flow of saliva into your mouth, which washes away food particles and bacteria. Nuts are filling, so you will be less tempted to fill up on the less-wholesome foods
Put out bowls of mixed nuts for your guests to eat as they mingle and chat. They also make a delightfully crunchy addition to salads or topping for cooked vegetables (green beans and almonds are a classic combination).
Who can argue with cheese? It’s just so delicious — addictive, some would say — and it’s an oral health superfood too! All dairy is rich in calcium, which is stored in your bones and teeth and provides strength and structure. Dairy products are also good sources of protein, including caseins, which are believed to form a coating over your teeth that protect enamel from bacteria acid attacks. Cheese is extra special though: in studies, it has been shown to raise pH levels in the mouth, which protects your teeth from cavities. This may be because it encourages saliva production in the mouth.
Make a gorgeously arranged cheese tray the centerpiece of your appetizer spread. Have a knowledgeable cheesemonger help you select a variety of cheeses and accompaniments.
Eating raw, crunchy, fiber-rich vegetables helps keep your teeth clean. They contain high amounts of water, the fiber stimulates the gums, and the act of eating them increases production of saliva in the mouth and washes away the bad stuff. And an artfully composed crudite platter is just so colorful and beautiful. A homemade yogurt-herb dip makes a delicious and tooth-friendly accompaniment!
Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy green vegetables contain lots of calcium, one of the building blocks of your teeth, and they are packed with lots of other healthful nutrients and minerals, too. They are a superfood not just for your teeth and gums — but for your body overall. Leafy greens also contain folic acid. This water-soluble vitamin helps combat periodontal disease by helping cells repair diseased parts of the gums. Folic acid is believed to reduce gum inflammation and make the tissue resistant to bacteria and plaque.
What is a holiday meal without sweet treats and desserts? You may be surprised to learn that chocolate is beneficial for oral health. Now, this mainly applies to dark chocolate, as milk chocolate tends to be much higher in sugar which, of course, counters any positive effects. But the research is intriguing.
A number of recent studies have suggested that chocolate helps fight cavities and plaque. It contains compounds that appear to be more effective than fluoride in combating decay! Other compounds in chocolate have antibacterial properties that protect your teeth and gums from plaque.
After the meal, put out dark chocolates for your guests to eat. It’s an elegant touch and you will be doing a good thing for their teeth!