Enjoy holiday favorites while safeguarding your oral health.

As the holidays draw nearer, we begin planning special holiday meals and plenty of laughter. Chances are, though, that your usual holiday menu isn’t built from healthy recipes. Many traditional holiday foods are as sugary as they are yummy! So how do you go about taking care of your teeth and gums while still enjoying delicious holiday foods?

You certainly don’t have to give up all of your holiday favorites, but being aware of what’s good for your oral health and what isn’t allows you to limit those foods. This can go a long way towards helping you keep your mouth healthy throughout the holiday season. You can also add a few foods that are healthier for your teeth and gums to your holiday lineup. Here are 5 delicious, healthy recipes you can try out this year.

1. Pita Tree Appetizers

These quick, simple appetizers are as delicious as they are good for your teeth and gums. The sour cream and avocado in this recipe both provide plenty of vitamins and minerals that are great for your teeth. Sour cream is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, both of which help strengthen your teeth and your enamel, while the avocado provides a host of vitamins and minerals that are great for your teeth and gums. This includes vitamin C, which strengthens your gums and protects against gum disease, as well as vitamin K and potassium. Vitamin K protects bone density, while potassium improves bone density and keeps your blood from becoming too acidic—a condition that can cause your body to pull calcium from your bones and teeth, weakening them. The bell peppers in this recipe are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin A, which helps your mouth heal from injuries and promotes healthy mucous membranes, preventing your mouth from drying out. Plus, these little appetizers are easy to throw together in a pinch and adorable, adding an almost effortless bit of Christmas cheer to your appetizer table this holiday season!

2. Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are great for your oral and overall health, including calcium, potassium, and phosphorus as well as vitamins C and D. These nutrients make sweet potatoes powerhouses when it comes to supporting bone density throughout your body, including your teeth, and at helping to strengthen your enamel. The presence of vitamin C also makes them good for your gum health. Unfortunately, many holiday sweet potato recipes are loaded with sugars and marshmallows, which make them horrible for your teeth. This sweet potato hash provides a delicious—but tooth-healthy—alternative, allowing you to benefit fully from the huge range of vitamins and minerals that sweet potatoes have to offer.

3. Spinach Artichoke Frittata Trees

These Christmas tree–shaped frittatas are a delicious but simple way to bring a little holiday cheer to your table. Thankfully, they’re also great for your teeth! Eggs are a great source of protein and contain huge amounts of vitamin A and phosphorus. They also contain calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. Similarly, spinach and artichokes both contain a huge amount of vitamin C as well as a significant amount of potassium, calcium, and vitamin A. Artichokes also contain a lot of vitamin K and a good portion of phosphorus, while the milk and cheese in the frittatas serve as another good source of calcium and vitamin D. As a result, these festive little trees pack a nutritious punch that will help keep your teeth and gums healthier.

4. Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a holiday classic for many families, but it’s also pretty good for your teeth. Green beans contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and K. Since the dish contains mostly green beans, you can get a great amount of these nutrients just by putting a solid helping on your plate. Plus, recipes that use cream of mushroom soup likely contain more salt and calories, but they also contain another source of calcium and potassium. Whether your family recipe uses cream of mushroom soup or not, green bean casserole is a holiday classic that you don’t have to feel guilty eating.

5. Rice Pudding

Sugar fuels cavity-causing bacteria, so many desserts are bad for your oral health if you eat them too often. Rice pudding still contains sugar, but it contains much less than many other desserts—between a third of  a cup and half a cup, depending on the recipe. The milk in this dessert, however, provides a solid amount of calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen your teeth. You should still be careful about not eating too much rice pudding, but it’s a good seasonal dessert that has a few nutrients to contribute toward your oral health.

Focusing on prevention by building healthy habits

Eating foods that are good for your oral health and limiting the foods that aren’t can make a big difference in your oral health, but other healthy habits are just as important if you want to protect your smile. Make sure to commit to a thorough oral hygiene routine, including brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, using mouthwash, and flossing. Flossing is particularly important for preventing periodontitis, or severe gum disease, because it’s the only way to clean plaque from your gum line.

You should also schedule a regular appointment with Dr. Alhadef every six months, or as advised, so that he can examine your oral health and give your teeth a professional cleaning. Preventive dentistry appointments like this are the key to catching oral health issues early—and helping prevent them in the first place. Only your dentist can remove hardened tartar from your teeth. While you’re off work for the holidays, it’s a good time to schedule your regular appointment or treat yourself to a teeth whitening treatment. This will help ensure that your teeth look and feel their best this holiday season.

The holidays are full of delicious food, but that doesn’t mean that your teeth and gums are destined to suffer for it. While you don’t have to cut out your favorite holiday treats, healthy recipes like this can help you get into the spirit of the season and eat delicious food while being kind to your teeth and gums. If you’re ready to take a step toward preventive care or are looking for teeth whitening in Dallas this holiday season, you can call our office to schedule an appointment at any time.

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