The array of holidays to celebrate in the coming months comes with a variety of sugary desserts. Whether you’re the baker or the taste-tester, you can choose which holiday treats are best for your teeth while still maintaining that dessert-induced smile.
The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your oral health at risk. Making small swaps and smart choices when selecting holiday treats, can help start the new year off of the right foot and keep you from making an additional trip to the dentist office for cavities. This is particularly significant for children who are frequently gifted sweets and enjoy sugary beverages like hot coco and apple cider at this time of year.
To keep the whole family on track, here are some ideas of how to celebrate your holiday season with desserts that won’t derail your dental health.
- Cookies to Bake for Santa – Santa isn’t the only one sampling cookies left out on Christmas Eve. Try cookies made with dates for natural sweetness that won’t give you a sugar rush. If chocolate is a must for you, opt for dark chocolate chips which often contain less added sugar without skipping the flavor. Finish off the cookies with a glass of water or glass of milk to help wash away food debris and neutralize the acid produced by oral bacteria.
- Melt-in-your-mouth Hanukkah Gelt – While classic Hanukkah chocolate coins come in milk and dark chocolate, reach for the dark. Dark chocolate contains tannins – an antioxidant which can inhibit bacterial growth. Simultaneously, antioxidant rich cocoa butter, a main ingredient in dark chocolate, can help prevent plaque from sticking on your teeth.
- Kwanzaa Cornbread – This savory-sweet dessert option has only a small amount of sugar, but a little goes a long way. Although there is some sugar, it can be exchanged for a sugar substitute like xylitol, stevia, monk fruit or erythritol that, unlike sugar, doesn’t promote bacteria to produce tooth-damaging acid.
- A New, New Year’s Eve Tradition – Looking for an extravagant New Year’s Eve dessert? This one is simpler than it looks, and your teeth will thank you. Capitalize on unprocessed fruit’s natural sweetness and dress it up with dark chocolate fondu. Try dipping fruits like strawberries, pineapple, grapes or sliced apples!
To maintain the health of your smile all year round, practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and drinking plenty of water this holiday season.
Do the children in the family need a little encouragement to remember to brush their teeth after all those holiday treats? Download our printable brushing and flossing chart HERE.