Woman smiling, eating cookie, and drinking cocoa out of a red mug

'Tis the season to be indulging - and not just in gifts and company, but in delicious food as well. Yes, there are many characteristics that describe the holiday season, and snacks, treats and sweets are certainly among them. Any food in moderation is OK, but we'd caution you from overdoing it on the sugar-laden treats this year for the sake of your oral health.

On that note, we've put together this list of dentist-approved holiday treats and offer some tips on how to minimize the impact to your teeth if you just can't help but indulge in some of the sugary stuff. Have a look:

Dentist-Approved Holiday Treats

  • Sugar-free treats: We get it - sugary snacks are the name of the game when it comes to the holiday season. But you'd be surprised to learn that there are a lot of delicacies that are also available in sugar-free versions and many of them taste just as good as the sugary stuff.

  • Chocolate with nuts: If you're going for something chocolate, you'll be doing your mouth a favor if it has nuts in it. Unlike caramel and other sticky chocolate fillers, nuts won't stick to the teeth. In fact, nuts may even help remove plaque from the teeth.

  • Opt for dark chocolate: Unlike conventional milk chocolate, dark chocolate, at least when consumed in moderation, offers many health benefits.

  • Keep it short: If you do opt for sugary sweets this season, try to eat treats that you don’t have to keep in your mouth for a long time. Candy canes and hard candies are the worst because they expose your teeth to sugar for a longer period of time than soft candies. A cookie with dark chocolate and nuts is the ideal dentist-approved holiday treat!

Learn more about what foods and drinks to avoid

Tips for Snacking on Sweets This Holiday Season

Whether you're indulging in one of the aforementioned types of treats or letting your sweet tooth do the eating for you, there are several tips that you can follow to ensure your mouth stays healthy this year.

  • Drink water: Water helps prevent bacteria and plaque buildup by washing down excess sugar and food that might still be persisting in your mouth after eating.

  • Brush 30 minutes after eating sugar: If you're eating something that's sugary, we'd strongly suggest brushing about 30 minutes after you eat. Sugar weakens your enamel, and brushing immediately after can damage your teeth. But don’t forget to brush once the 30 minutes is up. Sugar that stays in the mouth eventually turns into dental plaque.

  • Eat treats with your meals: Holiday treats are less harmful for your oral health when they are consumed with, before, or right after eating a meal. As we mentioned before, chewing certain foods can help remove plague. If you’re going to opt for treats this season, eat them with your meals to avoid exposing your mouth to too much sugar throughout the day.

  • See the dentist soon after the New Year: If you really want to make sure you didn't do a number on your mouth during the holiday season, we'd suggest adjusting your dental appointment schedule so that one of your every six-month cleanings is soon after the New Year. This way, if you didn't quite do a good enough job caring for your mouth over the holidays, a professional cleaning will help get your mouth back in good shape.


For more information on what to eat and how to care for your mouth this holiday season, contact Kanehl Dental today.