Think about it—the same foods that are bad for our teeth tend to make us gain weight. Why not use the dentist’s advice for the wellness of your whole body?
We do realize that we are suggesting a great feat of willpower, especially since it’s the most goody-filled time of year. So read these tips closely in order to resist the holiday snacking splurge—and keep your teeth and waistline healthy in the process.
When to Eat Sugary Foods
Ok, so you’re probably not going to forego the sweet treats that are showing up at work, at gatherings, at home—pretty much anywhere you go for the next month. But there’s a way to do it so you don’t make trouble for you teeth or add spikes to your blood sugar. The secret? Protein.
We’ve posted more than one article about what sugar does to your teeth, but allow us to recap: sugar gets stuck in your teeth, triggering bacteria to break it down into acids, which cause tooth decay. Since we’re not demanding you cut sugar out altogether, a good trick is to eat sugar with meals rather than on its own. In fact, Dr. Oz recommends that we “eat in 3s”—that is, protein, fats, and carbs—in order to keep the sugar in carbs from spiking our blood sugar. Eating sugar with things that reduce its impact on your body (ie, protein) will also “hide” it from the bacteria in your mouth, preventing tooth decay. Brilliant!
But we realize you aren’t going to be able to isolate sweets to meals. Your cubicle neighbor might bring you a brownie from the break room this afternoon, and then what? Or what about the Dirty Santa gift exchange at your neighbor’s house tomorrow evening? You can bet the only snacks will be Christmas cookies and punch.
The key here is to know what foods are worst for your teeth, and to limit the snacking. This blog article breaks it down for you by listing what food choices are good, moderate, and just plain bad. For example, whole foods like cheese, meat, and nuts aren’t going to affect your mouth bacteria or your blood sugar. Fruit isn’t the best, but it’s not the worst. And if you just can’t avoid a cookie or two, follow it with water, which washes down bits of food that could get stuck in your teeth.
Drink More Water
Speaking of water, let’s look at what it does for both mouth and waistline. Not only does water wash down sugar so that it doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, as we saw in the blog listed above, but water can keep weight gain down. In fact, this weight loss article points out that dehydration slows the fat burning process. Don’t want a cavity from holiday candy? Take a swig of water after you’re done with the office brownie. Want to keep your metabolism revved? Keep a water bottle on hand all day long.
What are your healthy food tricks?
Maintaining mouth and overall health this holiday season boils down to some simple tips: eat sugar with protein, don’t snack, always chase food with water. And follow this guide for the best and worst foods for your teeth—since what’s good for the mouth is good for the body, you’ll be protected.
Do you have even more healthy holiday eating tips? We’d love to hear them! This post is meant expressly to start a conversation, which isn’t going to happen unless you—yes, you!—leave a comment. What will you do to keep from gaining weight (and to protect your teeth) during the holidays?