The holidays are here, and soon we’ll all be celebrating with friends and family and opening gifts around the tree. Of course, the holidays can also be a time of excess, and it’s easy to see why with all the great food and drink that goes right along with the season. While we want everyone to have the best holiday yet, as a family dentistry we want everyone’s teeth to stay healthy for 2020 and beyond. In response, we’ve put together this list of dentist approved holiday gifts and treats that will keep everyone in a festive mood without causing any new cavities.
It’s no secret that many holiday foods are packed with sugar, and a long season of eating and celebrating can take a toll on your teeth. While we would never advocate cutting out your favorite traditional foods entirely, you can absolutely make some smart choices that will protect your family from the worst of holiday habits. (For more tips on responsible foods and drinks, read our guide to Drinking Wine And Tooth Decay). Let’s take a look at some dentist approved holiday treats.
CHEESES AND MILK
Dairy products have long been lauded as one of the better foods for your teeth, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy these treats. In fact, dairy products can help strengthen your teeth and even protect them from decay. Just like many holiday treats, be sure to avoid dairy products that are overly sweet or loaded with sugar. Oh and don’t forget to be like Santa and enjoy that glass of milk around the holidays. We’d just advise taking it easy on the cookies that go with it!
How many of us remember cracking that assortment of holiday nuts with our grandparents when we were young? Well turns out this traditional snack is a pretty good option for your teeth today as well. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and filberts are rich in vitamins, and they won’t harm your teeth like other holiday snacks. Of course if you’re cracking the nuts yourself, be sure to check for any shell fragments. You would want to bite down on those! Oh and one other word of caution, stay away from sugar coated nuts like the honey roasted variety as the sugar coating will stick to your teeth.
LOW SUGAR COOKIES
A list of holiday treats wouldn’t be complete without cookies, but today we’re going to look at some varieties that are low in sugar. That’s right, there are plenty of recipes out there that require only a little sweetener to create the perfect holiday treat (sorry those sugar cookies loaded with sugar on top are out of the question). Simply search for low sugar varieties like oatmeal, peanut butter or gingerbread cookies and modify your recipe as needed. In fact diets like Keto and Whole30 are a great way to cut out sugar, and even if you’re not on those diets, you can be inspired by their recipes.
LOW SUGAR PIES
Just like low sugar cookies, many varieties of pies can be made with little or no sugar as well. Try recipes with holiday favorites like sweet potato or pumpkin pie that focuses more on the spices and less on the sweet. Once again, Keto and Whole30 diets can help you find functional recipes that will cut the sugar without taking out any of the delight of these foods.
Another big favorite for the holidays is that of deviled eggs, and most recipes require no sugar to make this holiday treat. The filling primarily uses condiments like Dijon mustard and mayonnaise along with various spices like paprika and salt and pepper. This way you can indulge in a popular holiday treat without worrying about any sugar intake at all.
Ok, few people probably think about dentist-themed holiday gifts, but they can actually be a great option for kids and adults alike. One of the best gifts can be an electric toothbrush. Since these items are a bit more expensive, some people may avoid buying them and will stick with traditional toothbrushes. However it has been shown that a quality electric toothbrush can clean better than a manual one. This gift can be a great surprise for both kids and adults who may not buy one on their own.
For younger children, you also might consider a children’s book that teaches the importance of dental hygiene. This is a thoughtful gift for a growing child, and you’ll still have some budget left over to include toys and other fun gifts alongside it.
Our dentists, Dr. Leana Grace and Dr. Mark Leedy would like to encourage moderation this holiday season. With new recipes and more health-conscious ingredients on the market today, it has never been easier to enjoy the festive mood of the holidays without loading up on harmful foods high in sugar. Don’t forget the new year is almost upon us, and if you’re overdue for a checkup, best to get an appointment in the books before you’re busy with travel or hosting at your home. Contact Grace & Leedy today to get started.