Traditional holiday meals feature a cooked bird, mashed potatoes, and pie. But as our patients know, McKinney Smiles is always thinking outside of the box to solve dental health problems! Here’s our latest idea: eat more vegetables.
Wait, you’ve already heard this before? Your… mom used to say that? OK, ok– hold on! Listen to this: we’re not saying to eat your spinach so you grow big and strong like Popeye, we want to focus on oral health.
That’s right, when it comes to oral health, vegetables are one of the most powerful preventative solutions out there. Here are a few veggies, and their recipes, that we recommend.
What’s up, Doc?
Carrots! That’s what! Roasted, stewed, or raw, carrots are great for your teeth. From their place at the top of the IQ chart, McKinney Smiles patients can easily explain that carrots are packed with vitamin A, a key ingredient to healthy tooth enamel. Not only that, they carry minerals from the soil that fight bacteria. But maybe the best part about carrots is eating them raw… their distinctive (sugar-free), sweet crunch scrapes away plaque and stimulates saliva. Eaters of carrots are literally cleaning their teeth as they indulge in nature’s delicious health food!
Unconvinced? Try one of these delectable holiday recipes featuring the beloved tuber, the carrot, and tell us what you think.
On a similar note, celery also stimulates saliva and cleans the teeth when eaten raw, but its usual part in the holiday play is in soup stock. If you want to enjoy the benefits of raw celery, try filling its scooped side with peanut butter or cream cheese. Delicious!
Vitamin A and E
Butternut squash, yams, and sweet potatoes are all excellent sources of vitamins A and E, which are essential for healthy gums and help fight gingivitis. Candied yams, of course, are already a popular holiday dish in some households, but we encourage you to branch out this year and try sugar-free yam recipes.
Sweet potatoes offer far more nutrition than their non-sweet potato counterparts– they are very high in vitamin C and are a good option for mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, homemade fries, and more.
Bring in the green
Dark, leafy greens like kale, chard, and spinach carry lots of calcium and folic acid– both very important for gum health. Do you take vitamin A supplements? Or don’t like carrots? You’re in luck, because kale– that delicious, crisp, leafy vegetable, carries over 175% of your recommended daily vitamin A intake! Vitamin A is important for making dentin, one of the components in your teeth. (Note: eating too much Vitamin A, D, E, or K is not recommended because these vitamins are fat soluble– learn more here.)
This season, try a rich, dark green salad with all these gum-healthy leafy greens! You can find some good recipes here.
And please share!
We’re always on the look-out for good recipes ourselves. If you have a delicious favorite, please don’t hesitate to bring it to your next appointment to your McKinney family dentist!