Many of us have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. We may not like the extra stress or all the gift shopping, but the parties, food, and fun are often well worth it. However, there can be a penalty for all those holiday treats – the negative impact on teeth.
At Care Dental Center in Carson, we want you to have a fun and enjoyable holiday season – ideally, one that also supports your oral health! Here are some ideas for healthier teeth and gums.
Many standard holiday treats aren’t really that healthy for your teeth and gums. The hard candy of candy canes can cause problems for braces and other appliances. Also, the average candy cane has 15 grams of sugar! And sugar, as you probably already know, is bad for teeth.
Sugar feeds the bacteria that causes cavities and aggravates gum tissue. Too much bacteria in the mouth can cause periodontitis, an infection in the gums that can lead to gum recession and ultimately tooth loss. Thus, reducing sugar can help lessen the chance of cavities and gum disease.
While it might seem not a big deal to have a lot of sugar over the holidays, it can add up and impact the teeth negatively. There are alternatives to eating so much sugar, however. We’ve put together some preliminary ideas, but we are sure that you can find many more through some online searches and asking friends and family. You can also ask us when you come visit us in our dental office in Carson.
Care Dental Center in Carson has some ideas for holiday treats that won’t fill your mouth with sugar and your belly with unnecessary calories. Here are some ideas that you and your family might enjoy:
Making sugar free Christmas cookies is easy – just use any recipe you already have and substitute granulated sugar with granulated stevia or Splenda. If the recipe calls for brown sugar, you can find many low-glycemic alternatives for brown sugar through a simple online search.
Here is a simple recipe for hot chocolate (hot cocoa):
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup low-fat powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon granular sweetener (such as stevia)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Once you make the mix, you can use 1/3 of hot chocolate mix with 3/4 cup of boiling water.
Do you like egg nog but want less sugar? Try this recipe:
1 1-ounce package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
5 cups nonfat milk
1 packet stevia or Splenda sweetener
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon rum flavored extract (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. A wire whisk can help.
A fun alternative to the standard candy cane is the fruit candy cane made from bananas and strawberries. Simple cut pieces of fruit that are about the same size and arrange them on a plate to form a “candy cane.” Alternate each piece of banana with a piece of strawberry. The kids can enjoy this as a little holiday project. Do remember that fruit contains natural sugar, so you still need to brush your teeth afterwards!
This easy no bake almond butter ball recipe isn’t totally sugar-free, but it will still be a bit better than commercial candy. Do note that these almond balls are a little sticky so you may need to be a little careful if you have braces or certain types of dental work. However, if you can handle peanut butter, you should be OK, and almond butter is far better for braces than just plain almonds, which easily get stuck in braces.
Here is how to make almond balls, no baking necessary: Just take some almond butter (sugar free), honey, and coconut flour and mix it up and make balls out of it...use these proportions:
2 cups smooth almond butter
1/2 cup sticky sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
3/4 cup coconut flour
You can also alternatively roll almond balls in coconut to reduce the outside stickiness and make them more tasty. However, remember, coconut might stick in braces, so be careful!
Finally, you don’t need to always bring food with you when you go visit someone for the holidays. So instead of bringing cookies, candies, or sugary treats, consider bringing alternative small gifts when you visit family and friends.
For example, you could bring a nice bouquet of flowers. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive bouquet, maybe just a small bouquet of flowers. There are also many other little nice gifts that you can bring that do not involve adding sugar to the teeth. We, of course, like to hand out little dental kits, but of course we are dentists.
Once the holiday season is over, come visit us at Care Dental Center in Carson. Our expert dental hygienists can remove calcified food debris and tartar from your teeth to reduce the chance of cavities and gum disease. We also offer a full array of dental services for families, including pediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry, and orthodontics.
Care Dental Center in Carson is a family dental practice that you can trust! We specialize in dental care for patients of all ages, and we are proud to serve Carson and the surrounding communities. Give us a call at (310) 626-0004 to set up an appointment.
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