By Steven Barefoot, DDS
Your oral health influences what you eat, and what you eat influences your oral health, says the American Dental Association (ADA). That’s always true, including during the holiday season.
To enjoy celebrating while also keeping your teeth and gums healthy, continue daily dental hygiene and limit snacks between meals. The ADA also advises drinking plenty of water to protect your teeth and gums and eating a variety of foods, including:
- whole grains
- low-fat and fat-free dairy food
- lean protein (lean meat, skinless poultry and fish, plus beans and peas)
If you enjoy pumpkin spice and chai flavors, green and black teas contain polyphenols that either kill or hold back bacteria, says the University of Rochester Medical Center.
When trying new recipes, steer away from those with added sugars. Added sugars inside your mouth break down into acid, and that makes it easier for cavities to form.
Healthy Sides and Desserts for the Holidays
The recipes below use affordable, good-for-you ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. These dishes create a festive table and are also low in added sugar, which is important to prevent cavities.
Side dishes from MyPlate:
Side dishes and desserts from the American Heart Association:
- Acorn Squash Wedges with Walnuts
- Southern Cornbread
- Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples
- Honey and Spice Pears
- Steamed Pumpkin Bread
- Apple Bread Pudding
When the new year rolls around, remember to schedule your dental check-ups. And no matter what time of year, check the Nutrition Facts labels on food packages for added sugars. The lower the number of grams, the better!
With 30-plus years in dental practice, Steven Barefoot, DDS, associate director of clinical value-based care at DentaQuest, provides clinical input to develop new care programs; manages the design of quality measures; and responds to providers participating in value-based programs. Medical research at Methodist Hospital of Indiana and business development, analysis, and analytics in a range of areas complement Dr. Barefoot’s clinical career.
The newsletter designed for anyone who wants to improve oral health for themselves, their families, customers or communities.