Great Holiday Foods for Your Teeth

When you hear the jingles in the stores and see the decorations on your neighbor’s house, you know that the holiday season has arrived. Among other traditions, you can also expect food to play a big part of the holiday, whether it’s snacks for a party or a big family dinner. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional holiday food can be harmful to your teeth, from sticky candy canes to sugary, maybe alcoholic eggnog. Thankfully, there are also lots of seasonal dishes and treats that can keep your smile as healthy as ever.

You probably already have a sizable list of foods you know to be bad for your teeth: soda, coffee, and candy. However, what about the crackers you set out as hors d’oeuvres? Even without extra-sweet ingredients added in, bread and related snacks are full of carbohydrates – that is, sugar – and their crumbly, dissolvable nature means that these bacteria-feeding carbs get stuck to your teeth. Alcohol, not counting the sugar it is often made of or mixed with, will dry out your mouth; dry mouths are the perfect environment for bacteria. Even the cough drops you take for colds and the flu not only have sugar in them, but also expose you to that sugar over a long period of time. Cough syrup, despite having similar amounts of sugar in it, is quickly swallowed and doesn’t expose the teeth to that sugar too long. Simply put, too many holiday edibles encourage the decay of your teeth.

Not to worry! Lots of holiday foods diminish, if not reverse, the damage other foods can do. Two common party snacks, for example, are meat and cheese. The calcium and proteins provided by meat and cheese can actually strengthen your teeth and gums. Nuts, like meat, also provide your mouth with a burst of protein and saliva production that help defend your teeth from bacterial build-up. Instead of sweetened cranberry sauce in your dishes, try using fresh cranberries; they can interrupt the bonding process of the decadent bacteria. Though dried fruit is a bad idea, crunchy fruit and raw vegetables can help scrub plaque off of your teeth.

The holidays and their traditions are fast approaching. If you eat too much of the wrong kinds of traditional foods, or you find yourself chewing on that food for a long period of time, your teeth can suffer. However, holiday tradition have also given us a lot of food to protect and strengthen our teeth as well. So, when planning out the next holiday party or dinner, keep these foods in mind. They may just save your smile.

Advertisements

Win a $50.00 Visa Gift Card!

visa gift card contest-like us on facebook

 

We want our patients to be our friend.  Like us on Facebook!  The office of J.C. Duncan post daily dental tips to help you better manage your dental health.  The more you know, the better we can work together to keep a happier healthier you!

To Enter:

  • Like us on Facebook!
  • Need to be a patient of Dr. J.C.Duncan

Winner:

Will be announced on facebook the last day of May.

Gum is Good

Look for the ADA Seal—your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent body of scientific experts, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

chewing-gum

What is chewing gum?

Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times.  The Greeks chewed sap from the mastic tree, called mastiche.  On the other side of the world, the ancient Mayans favored the sap of the sapodilla tree (called tsiclte).  Native Americans from New England chewed spruce sap—a habit they passed on to European settlers.  Today, the base used for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials (elastomeres, resins and waxes in various proportions).  However, chewing gum is as popular as ever.

Consumers may be used to thinking about chewing gum as a kind of candy, but this category of the ADA Seal recognizes chewing gum that has demonstrated scientifically that it can protect the teeth.  For an informative article on the history of chewing gum, visit http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/85/8532sci2.html

What does chewing gum do?

The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth.  If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth.  Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, creating the conditions for decay.  Increased saliva flow also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

In the future, look for chewing gum that delivers a variety of therapeutic agents that could provide additional benefits to those provided by the ability of gum to mechanically stimulate saliva flow. For instance, some gum might contain active agents that could enhance the gum’s ability to remineralize teeth and reduce decay, or enable gum to help reduce plaque and gingivitis.

Does chewing gum replace brushing and flossing?

No, chewing gum is an adjunct to brushing and flossing, but not a substitute for either. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning plaque from between your teeth once a day with dental floss or other interproximal dental cleaners.

J. C. Duncan DDS FAGD *
103 Commerce Center Drive Suite 101*
Huntersville, NC 28078*
(704) 948-1300

http://huntersvillencdental.com