The 4 Best & Worst Holiday Treats for Your Teeth

6 December 2021

Most of the treats on this naughty food list make the cut because of their high sugar content, stickiness, or potential for tooth cracking disaster. As with any delicious snack, it’s okay to eat in moderation, but be mindful that you are brushing regularly and flossing to remove any leftover food particles as you enjoy your holidays.

The top 4 foods to avoid this holiday season are:

1. Frosted Fruitcake

Fruitcake is a common dessert served throughout the holidays. Whether plain or frosted, this confection is loaded with sugar and usually packed with syrup-soaked fruit as well.

One of the major problems with fruitcakes is the sticky fruit pieces, which stick to the grooves in your teeth. If you opt for lots of fruitcake slices, don’t forget to check out local family dentistry services in Oakville for an end-of-year cleaning!

2. Popcorn

Popcorn is such a versatile treat and doubles as a decoration. What tree is complete without a few strings of popcorn and cranberries to brighten the room. Whether picking popped corn from or mixing up a batch of caramel corn for your holiday party, be careful when brushing.

Popcorn kernels pose a double threat to your chompers. The seed’s hard shell can hurt or even crack a tooth if you bite down on one. A thin layer also covers the kernel, which flakes off and gets stuck between teeth and under your gums. If not properly cleaned away, this could cause tooth pain or a gum infection.

3. Chewy Toffee

Chewy treats are trouble! Not only are they packed with sugar, but they easily get stuck on your teeth. If you have an uneven bite or if you grind your teeth, you may notice deeper indents and grooves in your molars. These spaces can capture sticky toffee and make it difficult to clean away, even when brushing.

While it’s nice to enjoy a sticky candy treat from time to time, too many during the holidays could lead to cavities. If you do indulge, be sure to brush right after!

4. Candy Canes

Candy canes and hard peppermint candies are a holiday staple, but they’re not so festive for your teeth. Aside from being about 70% sugar, they’re also a hard candy that tempts you to bite instead of suck.

Sugar that stays on your teeth too long creates a sticky film of bacteria called plaque which produces acids that eat away at the surface of your teeth. As the acids break down the protective coating on your teeth, bacteria get deeper into your teeth and gums, causing corrosion and gum infection along with sensitivity and pain.

The 4 Best Treats to Eat This Holiday Season

As you can imagine, your family dentist will recommend healthy snacks over those high in sugar. But there are plenty of delicious, nutritious alternatives to the treats that made our naughty list, including:

1. Veggies and Dip

Who doesn’t love to dip things at a party? Healthy dips made with yogurt and spices are a festive way to enjoy veggies like:

  • Celery sticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Pepper slices
  • Broccoli florets
  • Cauliflower florets

One of the great things about these healthy veggie snacks is that they are packed with fiber and will help clean your teeth as you eat them. Of course, you still need to brush and floss before bed, but your family dentist in Oakville will thank you at your next teeth cleaning!

2. Nut Platters

Break out the nutcracker and get the dance of the sugar plum fairies playing on the sound system because nothing says holidays like a nut platter. Walnuts, chestnuts, and pecans are all holiday classics, and they’re much healthier for your teeth than sugary squares and candies. Nuts are another great source of fiber, but also offer protein and a variety of healthy nutrients.

3. Hummus and Pita

Looking for a savory snack that’s easy on the teeth? Hummus is made of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings! It’s easy to make and a big hit for holiday gatherings. Serve hummus with a side of mini pita for dipping and you’ve got yourself a snack that’s sure to get gobbled up in no time.

Hummus is loaded with iron, vitamin B, and folate. You can create different hummus combinations by adding sweet red peppers, chilies, or shallots to the mix.

4. Frozen Yogurt and Berry Parfait

Opting for healthier holiday fare but still need a sweet finishing touch? Make your own frozen yogurt with a thick and creamy Greek or Icelandic yogurt base. Add whatever toppings you and your guests enjoy, including berries, pears, apples, and nuts.

Yogurt is full of protein, and berries are packed with antioxidants, add them together, and you’ve got a powerhouse of a dessert. Forget worrying about cavities and indulge in an extra serving!

You still need to take care of your teeth after eating a healthy snack, but it takes less time to brush and floss after yogurt and berries than it does candy canes and sticky toffee!

For more help keeping your teeth clean this holiday season, call Oakville Place Dental at 1-647-496-2721 or contact us here.

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