The holidays are a time of fun, friends, family, and, most of all, food. But while holiday treats may be delectable, not all of them are good for your teeth. If you're wondering which foods you can safely eat this holiday season--and which ones to avoid entirely--then here's what you need to know about holiday foods and your dental health:

The Bad Ones

Sadly, not all holiday foods are created equal, and these are some of the worst for your teeth. If you really can't avoid them (the holiday season only comes once a year, after all), make sure to brush, floss, and rinse after indulging in these wintertime delights.

  • Gumdrops. A staple of gingerbread houses everywhere, these little sugar bombs are chewy, sticky, and rolled in sugar--three things that add up to a dental nightmare. Most chewy holiday treats aren't fantastic for your teeth, but these bite-sized delicacies might just be the worst.
  • Hard Candy. Put away the candy canes and ribbon candy this year or at least eat them in moderation. Because they stay in your mouth for so long (and are made of pure sugar), hard candies are especially damaging for your teeth.
  • Popcorn. You can string it on your tree, but you should keep it away from your teeth. Popcorn can be hard on the teeth any time of the year, due to its hard kernels, but holiday popcorn tends to have an extra festive touch (such as caramel or cinnamon and sugar), which makes it an even bigger problem. If you have to have your popcorn fix, stay away from the kernels, and avoid the fixings.

The Good Ones

All is not lost, however; there are a few holiday treats to get you in the mood without ruining your white-as-snow smile.

  • Fruitcake. This delicious confectionery gets a lot of flack from holiday movies and TV shows alike, but properly prepared, it's delicious. As an added bonus, its tooth-healthy, fiber-rich cake and the fruit interspersed within it are excellent ways to have your cake while not regretting it in the morning.
  • Chocolate. Stand up and cheer, chocolate lovers; chocolate is loaded with calcium, making it a sweet treat that strengthens your teeth. Avoid the dollar-a-barrel chocolate and spring for the decadent variety for more calcium content (and better taste, as well).
  • Peppermint. While harmful in candy canes, this delightful flavor can help you get into the holiday spirit without harming your teeth. It's good for the rest of your body, too--peppermint has been known to help nausea and digestion.

To learn more, contact a company like Dental Associates of Tampa with any questions you have.