Sugary snacks and treats may be delicious, but if you consume too much of them during the holiday season you could end up with multiple cavities, gum disease, or extensive and destructive tooth decay. Luckily if you want to preserve your oral health there are things you can do to help encourage yourself to avoid overindulging on sugary snacks and treats this holiday season.
Create Realistic Goals for Yourself
In an ideal world you would be able to completely avoid all sugary snacks and treats during the holidays, but that isn’t a realistic goal. Make sure you set realistic expectations for yourself. For example, instead of trying to avoid all sugary treats, consider limiting yourself to one or two of your favorite snacks every week.
Bring Your Own Healthy Snacks and Treats to Parties and Gatherings
Sometimes you end up snacking on sugary treats because there really are no healthy options available to you. To avoid being stuck in this type of situation, bring your own healthy snacks and treats. This way you can eat stuff you enjoy and not be tempted to snack on those high sugar treats.
Pay Attention for “Hidden Sugar” in Holiday Treats
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to some of your favorite holiday treats. Some things, such as sweet potato pie, may look healthy, but it can contain numerous ingredients that are high in sugar. Make sure you know all the ingredients of a dish before consuming it. This allows you to find any ‘hidden’ sugar.
Some ways holiday dishes hide sugary ingredients include:
- Using marshmallows as a main ingredient
- Using brown sugar
- Adding caramelized nuts
Choose Healthy Holiday Snacks
It may seem like almost every snack that you enjoy is filled with sugar, so you have to avoid it but you don’t. There are a lot of tasty holiday snacks and treats that you can enjoy that are low in sugar.
In an effort to protect your oral health choose to snack on these tasty treats this holiday season:
- Almond cookies
- Jelly thumbprint cookies
- Chocolate-hazelnut kisses
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Pumpkin pie without whipped cream
These are just some examples of the tasty snacks you can eat that are not only delicious, but they aren’t packed with sugar so they won’t cause too many problems for your teeth.
Even if your favorite holiday snack isn’t on the list, you might be able to still enjoy it if you make a few modifications to the recipe. When making your favorite holiday treats consider using whole wheat flour instead of traditional flour this is not only healthier for you, but does reduce the amount of carbohydrates or sugars you consume.
Another recipe modification you can do is to reduce the amount of sugar used. Just because a recipe says to use 3 cups sugar doesn’t mean you have to use that much. You can cut down on the amount used or use a healthier option to sweeten your treats such as molasses or dark chocolate.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Just because you are making good choices and avoiding foods with lots of sugar doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice good oral hygiene. You still need to brush and floss regularly in order to keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy and happy.
Some of the things you will want to do include:
- Drinking plenty of water at holiday events – water will help increase saliva production which decreases the amount of damage sugary treats can do to your teeth. Water can also help reduce your cravings for sugary treats.
- Brush after every meal – make sure you brush approximately 15 to 20 minutes after eating. If you can’t brush after every meal at least try to brush two times a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, it is a good idea to get your teeth professionally cleaned after the holiday season. Call Artistic Touch Dentistry to schedule an appointment for a post-holiday professional teeth cleaning.