Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, Florida
It is natural to splurge during the holidays, but certain seasonal fare can do some significant damage to your oral health.
A 2015 report by the National Center of Health Statistics found that 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 years old have untreated tooth decay. Most of that damage is inflicted by foods and drinks that damage the protective enamel on the outer surfaces of teeth, and many enamel-damaging foods can be found at your nearest holiday party.
Here is a quick guide to foods that can help, and hinder, your oral health during this holiday season.
More is better
Leafy, green vegetables like raw spinach and kale may not seem like holiday fare but actually grow best in the fall and early winter. These greens also are great for your teeth.
Cheese contains a protein called casein that helps fight cavities. The calcium and phosphorus in cheese also promote tooth remineralization, which helps prevent cavities.
Mixed nuts are a traditional fixture at holiday gatherings, but are often passed up for sugary treats. The nutrients in nuts are beneficial, and chewing them provides a good workout—just take them out of their shells first, of course.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables—such as apples, celery, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli—can cleanse your teeth as you crunch them. These are also high in fiber, stimulating saliva to help clean the mouth.
Berries, in moderation, benefit your oral health and overall health. We suggest eating them with yogurt or while also drinking water to limit the potential damage their acidic quality can inflict on teeth.
Less is more
Citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, good for your overall health and healthy gums. However, the high acid content in citrus fruit, a common ingredient in holiday cocktails, can erode enamel. If you do indulge in citrus fruit, do so as part of a large meal.
From Halloween to Christmas, candy seems like it is always present during the holidays. We all know that overindulging on candy, or sugar in general, can do damage to your teeth and cause cavities. When you do need to satiate that sweet tooth, drink water afterward, or brush and floss.
Dried fruit, another holiday fixture, can stick to your teeth. The sugar present in the fruit can create a breeding ground for bacteria and potential enamel erosion. Consider snacking on dried fruit as part of a trail mix that includes nuts.
Coffee and alcohol can be hard to limit during the holidays, but they also can stain teeth and leave your mouth feeling dried out. A dry mouth increases your vulnerability to cavities and gum disease. The sugar in alcoholic beverages, as well as acid in many mixers, can do double the damage to enamel.
PGA Smiles can help you safeguard your teeth during the holidays, and all year long, through our wide array of preventive care services. To learn more, call the PGA Smiles office at (561) 627-7090.
PGA Smiles is proud to provide oral health care to patients in the areas of Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens in south Florida.