Holidays Foods That Satisfy Cravings, and Are Good For Your Teeth!
Deck the table with holiday foods that are good for your teeth!
‘Tis the season when holidays are all around us. While there are many options for traditional holiday foods, not everything is tooth-friendly and full of the nutrients your teeth need to be strong and healthy. Read on for some holiday foods that are great additions to your holiday snacks and meals.
What vitamins and minerals are good for your teeth?
Vitamins and minerals are important substances for our overall health, but there are key vitamins and minerals that specifically target our oral health.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for good bone health—and calcium is also great for teeth! Calcium can help build up your enamel—the outside, hard part of teeth.
Dairy items that are low in sugar (sorry, ice cream!) are great for holiday snacking or incorporating as part of a meal. Low-fat yogurt is a great option for snacking or as a substitute for heavy cream in sauce recipes. Yogurt can also be used as a substitute in many baking recipes, too.
Cheese is another tooth-healthy food that makes a great holiday snack. Did you know that cheese also contains a protein called casein, which can help build up the enamel of your teeth?
Of course, when talking about calcium, we can’t forget to mention a fresh glass of milk. Milk is high in calcium and can also lower the acid levels in your mouth.
Another essential vitamin for healthy teeth is phosphorus, which helps your body absorb calcium. Phosphorus can be found naturally in meat, milk, and whole grains, as well as fish and eggs. If you’re looking for a simple snack to boost your phosphorus intake, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are full of this mineral. Roast the seeds and sprinkle them with sea salt for a healthy snack to munch on while waiting for the holiday meal to finish cooking.
Vitamin A is great for skin and eyes—but also for saliva. Foods rich in Vitamin A promote saliva production, which can help wash away bacteria in your mouth. Orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes, are high in Vitamin A. Looking for a way to incorporate Vitamin A into your holiday meals? Consider a sweet potato casserole. This recipe is also gluten free and adds a crunchy topping of oats and nuts, which are also tooth-healthy foods.
If you’re looking for foods to promote good gum health, look for foods rich in Vitamin C. Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits; dark green vegetables, like broccoli and spinach; and vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes. Mashed potatoes are a great source of Vitamin C (and if you use milk in your recipe, that adds extra calcium to the meal) as are roasted brussels sprouts—Ina Garten’s simple recipe is always a hit!
Why is Vitamin D important for your dental health? Vitamin D plays a role in boosting bone and tooth mineralization. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities. Foods rich in Vitamin D are oily fish, like salmon and herring; eggs; and mushrooms. There are also foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, like many breakfast cereals and even milk. A great holiday appetizer rich in Vitamin D is deviled eggs. If you’re looking for a great (and easy!) fish recipe, check out this baked salmon with a honey glaze.
Food Groups for Healthy Teeth
Now that you know which vitamins and minerals to look for in your quest for tooth-healthy foods, let’s take a look at the food groups that can provide extra healthy support for your teeth.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables
Looking for an easy holiday appetizer? Pick up some crunchy fruits and vegetables to put on a platter. Many crunchy fruits and vegetables have a fibrous texture, which helps brush away plaque buildup on the teeth. Apples, celery, and carrots act as nature’s toothbrushes and help to sweep away plaque buildup on teeth.
Dark, leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, so add raw versions of these vegetables, like kale and spinach, to a salad. Raw leafy green vegetables are good for cleaning teeth and gums as you chew them because of their crunch. This easy kale salad also has apples, which are another tooth-smart food, and pecans, which are a good source of Vitamin A, phosphorus, and calcium.
Speaking of pecans being a great source of vitamins and minerals, most nuts are full of calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients that are essential to great oral health. Spiced roasted mixed nuts make a great holiday gift for friends and family, and you can customize each batch to be spicy (or sweet) and can try numerous different nut combinations.