Teeth-Friendly Holiday Snacks
The Christmas season is upon us, and so are all of our favorite peppermint drinks and gingerbread treats. We know you want to enjoy all of your holiday snacks, but we also know you want to care for your smile. Here are our top picks of the most teeth-friendly treats for the holidays!
Teeth-Friendly Holiday Snacks
As with snacks year-round, there are certain kinds of foods that aren’t kind to our teeth. Snacks that are crunchy, sticky, and loaded with sugar can do a number on your smile. Here are some popular holiday treats that you should limit for the sake of your smile, and what you can try instead!
Instead of ooey-gooey snack mix, try… sweet and salty snack mix!
Ooey-gooey chex mix – this popular snack is usually filled with crunchy ingredients and mixed with sticky binders like corn syrup that hold it altogether. The crunch and stickiness can wreak havoc on your smile by increasing cavity-causing bacteria and putting you at risk for breaking or chipping a tooth. Instead of the ooey-gooey option, make your own sweet and salty snack mix by mixing traditional chex mix ingredients with bits of chocolate chips or small chocolate candies. This sweet and salty mixture will still be a hit, just without all of the stickiness.
Instead of peppermint bark, try… peppermint patties!
Peppermint bark – these popular snacks at holiday parties, though delicious, are usually hard to bite into. Made up of different chocolates and peppermint extract, then topped with chunks of candy canes, this hard snack could accidentally cause you to hurt a tooth. Instead, try making a similar treat: peppermint patties. This treat is softer, and will be easier on your teeth. You’ll still get the Christmas peppermint flavor you love, without the risk of breaking a tooth.
Instead of popcorn balls, try… chocolate drizzled popcorn!
Popcorn balls are a popular holiday treat. However, just like ooey-gooey snack mix, they are often put together using an ingredient like corn syrup. This is also difficult to eat given its shape, crunchiness, and stickiness. A better, yet similar, snack for your teeth would be chocolate drizzled popcorn. If you’re a frequent popcorn eater, you know that those small kernels can easily get lodged between your teeth. When you enjoy this treat, be sure you thoroughly floss afterwards.
If you still need more smile-safe snack ideas, try finding fun recipes online for the following:
- Mint chocolate chip cookies
- Sugar cookies with festive icing
- Peppermint hot chocolate
- Spiced cider
- Sausage balls
- Grinch fruit kabobs
The Risk of Holiday Snacks
As you can tell from above, the biggest risk of holiday snacks is that many are sticky and crunchy in nature. The American Dental Association explains that crunchy snacks seem harmless, but they can trigger a dental emergency like a broken or chipped tooth.
The other risk of holiday snacks is that they’re filled with sugar. Christmas only comes once a year, so enjoying these snacks in moderation is what we recommend. However, you should be sure to have a consistent dental hygiene routine that keeps your smile healthy year-round. Sugar clings to bacteria in your mouth and can put you at increased risk for excessive plaque, cavities, tooth decay, and more.
Dental Hygiene Tips
A good oral health care plan takes research and practice, and what works for you might not work for your mom or your neighbor. To develop a oral health care plan, follow these steps:
- Understand your own dental health needs. You can best do this by talking with your dentist about your current oral health and what your goals are.
- Come up with and follow your daily oral health routine. Again, talking with your dentist will be your best option for understanding what you need to do to best care for your smile. If you have certain health conditions, like pregnancy or diabetes, you might have to do more than someone who isn’t expecting or diabetic.
Other tips for caring for your smile include:
- Using fluoride
- Brushing and flossing daily
- Visiting your dentist every six months
Make an appointment with Dr. Ania
Whether you hurt a tooth eating a holiday snack, or just need help with your smile year-round, make an appointment with Dr. Ania. With decades of experience in helping patients achieve the smile of their dreams, Dr. Ania is equipped to help you no matter your dental needs. To make an appointment, call us today at (303)-872-9940.