Tis the season - Healthy sugar swaps
As we prepare to wave goodbye to 2020 and welcome the festive season, a common tradition seems to be fairly standard. The annual time of year when we over-indulge in the sweet stuff and forget about healthy eating until we've welcomed in the new year.
Why do we take care of your teeth and gums all year round, but we let things slide during the silly season?
While it may be nice to celebrate and indulge a little, there are plenty of options that allow us to do so in a healthy way.
We’ve listed some tooth-friendly foods which may help us make some creative changes to those unhealthy staples. You can still get the most out of the holidays, while looking after your teeth.
If you love cheese, you're in luck – this favourite is great for your teeth in several ways:
It's high in calcium and phosphate, which help to rebuild teeth enamel and protect against tooth decay and cavities.
It helps to balance the pH level in your mouth and neutralise acids left on your teeth by food and drink – one reason why wine and cheese pair so well.
Munching on cheese also stimulates saliva production, which helps to rinse your mouth.
Cheese can aid digestion too, but take care not to indulge too much if you're watching your figure.
Like cheese, nuts are another traditional Christmas delicacy that can actually be good for your oral health. As well as scrubbing the teeth and encouraging saliva, they also help to neutralise acidity in the mouth. and some nuts like almonds are good sources of teeth-strengthening calcium.
Where nuts can be bad for you is if you decide to use your teeth to crack them open (or the ones that are covered in chocolate). This is a recipe for a dental emergency, as it can lead to teeth chipping, cracking or make them prone to damage later.
Crunchy fruit and veg
Often it is dried fruit that we associate with Christmas, however this can be being high in natural sugars and tends to stick to our teeth. These can sometimes be as bad for your teeth as lollies.
For a healthier fruit option, fresh apples can help to clean your teeth of bacteria by scraping plaque off the surfaces as you bite. Apple skins can also remove bits of food trapped between the teeth.
Raw, crunchy vegetables like carrots and cucumbers can also clean teeth as you chew, as they scrape plaque off the surface, stimulate saliva flow and contain helpful vitamins that help to combat gum disease.
It's not only dairy products that contain calcium. Leafy vegetables such as celery, kale and spinach can also help to strengthen your teeth while they're scrubbing away plaque and food debris and stimulating saliva.
Add fresh leafy greens to salads and sandwiches to encourage everyone in your family to get a vitamin and nutrient boost. They're also low in calories.
Chocolate or toffees?
Toffees and sticky lollies are among the worst foods for our teeth, because they hang around on the surface for longer – sometimes all day until you brush at night. If you have dental restorations such as fillings, crowns or veneers, these may even be pulled off by very chewy snacks.
Chocolate isn't exactly great for your teeth, but it rinses off much more easily, making it fine in moderation.
Drink plenty of water
Plain water is one of the best drinks for your teeth – even better if you live in a fluoridated area and can get it virtually free from the tap. Fluoride is added to local water supplies at safe levels to help strengthen teeth and lower rates of tooth decay and other problems.
Dentists recommend drinking water throughout the day as part of preventive dental care, as it washes away bacteria and leftover food. Drinking a glass of water alongside a soft drink or alcohol can also lessen the effect of acids and sugars on your teeth.
Should you require any dental advice or need to book an appointment, give us a call on (03) 9850 4056.
Wishing our wonderful friends and family a safe and happy festive season, from the Lower Templestowe Dental Excellence team.