The 4 Worst Holiday Foods for Your Oral Health (and the 4 Best)

December 13, 2019

Christmas Place SettingFor so many of us, the holidays mean enjoying our favorite foods.

We would never tell anyone they had to give up their favorite annual treats, but we think it’s good to be aware of which foods are best avoided. The worst foods aren’t just the ones that contain sugar and carbohydrates, they’re the foods that hang out in your mouth the longest. Sticky candies and thick drinks tend to coat the mouth, allowing ample time for bacteria to feast away.

Keep reading to learn our 4 least favorite holiday foods. If you’re not careful, these foods can wreck your teeth. To round things out, we’re also sharing 4 dentist-approved foods that you should definitely enjoy guilt-free!

4 Holiday Foods to Pass on This Year

Candy Canes

Colorful candy canes in glass on table on blue backgroundCandy canes are sugary, plus, they take a long time to eat. This creates a recipe for a sticky, sugary film that coats your teeth and is difficult to remove.


People really love their eggnog! And we do admit, it can be quite delicious. However, the creamy texture that most people love also leads to this thick drink hanging out in your mouth and coating your teeth. The drink is also high in sugar, which feeds the bacteria that live in your mouth.

Not to mention, alcohol dehydrates you, which can affect your saliva production.

Bubbly Beverages

After enjoying your soda or celebratory champagne, be sure to have a glass of water to rinse your mouth. Those tasty bubbles are forced in there using carbon dioxide, which produces carbonic acid. The acid is abrasive and can damage your enamel.


If you’ve ever had caramel, you know that it tends to burrow in your teeth and hang out for a while. Since the caramel is loaded with sugar, this isn’t a good thing for your pearly whites.

4 Dental Approved Holiday Foods


Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey with All the SidesTurkey is the anchor of a traditional holiday meal, and we’re happy to report that it’s dentist-approved! Turkey is rich in phosphorus, which is a vital nutrient for your teeth and bones. Plus, a diet that has an appropriate amount of meat has been shown to lower the risk of periodontal or gum disease.

Cheese Plates

Cheese naturally strengthens your teeth by balancing your pH levels and delivering a hearty dose of tooth-healthy calcium.


Snacking on nuts is a great way to gently scrape lingering food particles from your mouth. Like cheese, many nuts are rich in calcium.

Veggie Platters

You’re probably not surprised to find this item on the list! Veggie platters—or crudités, if you’re fancy—are great for your teeth. Carrots, celery, and bell peppers are crunchy, so you’ll be chewing a lot. This helps to increase saliva production, rinsing your teeth. Plus, the act of chewing can wipe away plaque.

Now, if you’re holidays just wouldn’t be complete without enjoying one of the foods on our avoid list, don’t worry. We’re not suggesting you need to give them up altogether, but moderation is key. It’s also a good idea to take some extra care when you brush and floss your teeth that evening, or even add an extra brush and floss session 30 minutes after you eat.