The holiday season is filled with many tempting sugary treats. You can enjoy plenty of holiday treats and still be good to your teeth, but read on to learn about a few treats that are best eaten only in moderation.
1. Fried Chicken
Amazingly enough, fried chicken is the most popular Christmas dish in Japan, where turkeys are a rare bird. The world-famous KFC chain, founded by the legendary Colonel Sanders with his “secret blend of 11 herbs and spices”, reportedly takes Christmas orders up to two months in advance from its Japanese customers. However, regular consumption of fried chicken can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. And if the batter contains sugar and white flour, these feed the bad bacteria in your mouth, which create dental plaque. And plaque accumulation leads to tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum inflammation.
We recommend eating chicken that has not been fried. Instead, pair a poached, grilled, sauteed, or baked chicken with spices, fresh herbs, vegetables, and whole grains for a tooth-friendly meal. In terms of oral health, chicken cooked without added sugar and carbohydrates is great. In fact, its abundance of protein can help strengthen teeth and bones. The only problem is that its meaty strands sometimes can get stuck between your teeth. So long as you remember to floss, and even chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating, chicken is a tasty addition to your holiday table.
Fruitcake is the frequent subject of holiday jokes because supposedly nobody likes them, but the Collin Street Bakery of Corsicana, Texas begs to differ! They sell 1.5 million fruitcakes each year, almost all of them by mail-order. The White House, world leaders, and famous celebrities are among the buyers. This fruitcake contains pecans, pineapple, papaya, red cherries, golden raisins, and honey. The problem with fruitcake is that while fruit contains vitamins that are healthy for your gums, dried fruit is sticky and has a high concentration of sugar. When sticky dried fruit lingers on your teeth, your saliva can’t reach that portion of your tooth to remineralize it, increasing its susceptibility to decay. Moreover, bacteria feast upon the residual sugar, creating damaging acids that dissolve the protective coating of your teeth, called the enamel.
Skip the fruitcake, and pick up a holiday nut mix! In general, nuts are packed with fiber, folate, calcium, and other tooth-strengthening vitamins. Pair with fresh fruit and freshly sliced cheese for a refreshing platter of finger-foods that will promote healthy teeth.
3. Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is an old holiday classic. While the pumpkin is rich in gum-strengthening vitamin A, watch out for recipes that contain loads of added sugar in the filling and whipped topping!
You don’t have to completely give up your favorite pie when it comes to holiday eats. Just make sure you use a low-sugar recipe or a sugar substitute for the filling and whipped topping. Or, try a sweet potato pie, which tastes a lot like pumpkin pie, but contains even more vitamin A.
All of us here at Stratman Family Dentistry wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. If you have any particular issue with your oral health, or if you just need to schedule your regular checkup, give us a call today and we will be happy to set it up for you.