5 Foods to Keep Your Teeth Healthy this Holiday Season

As you dig in at your next holiday soirée, make sure to indulge in these five vegan options for optimal dental health.

Holidays are synonymous with food. They’re a time of plates and platters piled high with entrées, appetizers, and desserts just waiting to be dug into while you attempt to keep your tacky Christmas sweater food-free (a nearly impossible feat). The non-stop noshing and packed schedule can take a toll on your dental hygiene, and while the regular regimen of brushing and flossing is ever-important, if you choose the right foods, you can preserve your pearly-whites while you dine. Here are five animal-free options to include on your holiday menu, that will keep your smile as white as the newly fallen snow.

1. Fibrous Vegetables: Fibrous fruits and vegetables such as kale, spinach, and celery provide a whole-body health experience. Besides containing a plethora of vitamins and nutrients, they also clean your teeth while you eat, like tiny delicious toothbrushes. Vegetables also increase saliva levels in the mouth, which helps neutralize cavity culprits such as acids and enzymes. Dine in style with this Kale and Delicata Squash Salad with Citrus-Maple Vinaigrette, courtesy of vegetarian blog Oh My Veggies

2. Green and Black Tea: Tea has long been touted by health advocates for its cancer-fighting capabilities, but medical evidence also shows that the ubiquitous beverage may help keep tooth decay and dental disease at bay. A 2009 study published in the Journal Periodontology, which analyzed 940 subjects, showed that those who consumed the highest amount green tea had the greatest periodontal (gum) health. Green and black tea’s positive dental effects may be attributed to the their high levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant that reduces the bacteria and acid that lead to cavities and other dental conditions. Get all your friends in on this beneficial beverage by hosting a tea party—check out our how-to guide for a tea-tastic time.

3. Strawberries: Strawberry's superior teeth whitening ability can give you an ultra-white smile for your next holiday card. The red and ripe fruit acts as an astringent, reversing discoloration that you may have gotten from your morning cup of coffee or red wine indulgence; they're is also packed with vitamin C, a nutrient that is crucial for dental health. Add strawberries to this colorful fruity concoction by Melissa Bragg for a beverage that will keep your smile pristine and your whole body healthy. 

4. Water: This one-ingredient beverage and elixir for life is a key component to keeping your teeth clean, due to its added fluoride that helps fight tooth decay. If you prefer to indulge in the bottled variety, you may want to check the fluoride levels—some companies leave the cavity-fighting compound out, leaving you devoid of water’s smile-worthy benefits.

5. Nuts: Put out a bowl of mixed nuts at your next holiday shindig. These protein packed morsels not only contain a plethora of nutrients such as magnesium, iron, thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, and zinc, but they supply a healthy dose of calcium, which helps keep teeth strong. Nuts also stimulate saliva flow to keep harmful bacteria away. This Raw Cranberry Walnut Tart from The Sweet Life is the perfect nutty treat for the dessert course.

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