For many of us, the ‘silly season’ is a time to indulge our sweet tooth with all manner of sugar-laden treats - from Christmas cakes to gingerbread houses, sugary cocktails to extra cream with just about everything.
While our holiday snacking may delight our taste buds, it’s a different story for our oral health, with sugar and acid-rich foods increasing our risk of tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.
If you’re hoping to be a little less strict with yourself over Christmas, don’t worry - we’re not suggesting you skip the sweet treats altogether! However, with a few simple food swaps here and there, you can balance your indulgent feasting with some healthier alternatives that will keep your teeth strong and protected.
Feast on festive fruits
Rich in nutrients and packed with flavour, fruit can be a great choice for Christmas snacking. Berries such as strawberries and raspberries are low in sugar while boasting a cheery Christmas colour - making them perfect for a festive fruit platter.
In-season mangoes are an Aussie favourite over summer, while watermelon is an ideal thirst quencher that adds a splash of colour to your Christmas table. You can even put watermelon on the barbecue for a tooth-friendly fruity treat with a difference!
Go nuts for nuts
Nuts are high in ‘good’ (unsaturated) fats and contain healthy minerals that are beneficial for both our bodies and our teeth. What’s more, nuts can stimulate saliva production as you chew, which can help to wash away food debris and bacteria from the mouth.
Having a selection of nuts on-hand for snack time can help you avoid reaching for sugary or processed foods. You can also throw a handful of nuts onto salads, add them to your stuffing, or make a festive dessert such as pecan pie. The only worry is that nuts can sometimes cause teeth and restorations to crack!
Cheers to cheese
Great news for cheese lovers! Cheese is high in calcium which helps keep the tooth’s protective layer of enamel strong and healthy. It’s also a rich source of protein, which our bodies need to function optimally.
A cheese platter is a popular feature of any Christmas table. You can make your cheese platter even more healthy and teeth-friendly by adding your favourite nuts or a selection of fruits such as grapes, berries, figs or dates.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the odd tipple over Christmas, overindulging in alcoholic beverages can be bad news for your oral health. Alcohol contains sugars that can lead to cavities and tooth decay, as well as being high in enamel-damaging acids.
You can now find a wide range of non-alcoholic beers and wines online or in supermarkets, as well as alcohol-free versions of your favourite spirits, making it easy to whip up a booze-free version of your Christmas cocktail of choice.
Need to book in a dental appointment over Christmas? Contact your local National Dental Care / DB Dental practice today.