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Four Healthy Holiday Recipes Your Dentist Will Love

Try These Mouth-Friendly Snacks This Season

{Who says you have to compromise taste to eat foods that are healthy? These recipes will help your teeth stay sparkling this holiday season!}

The holidays are a special time of year, with family, friends, and delicious meals that are shared with those closest to you. It’s also a time that’s notorious for being filled with all sorts of sweet treats and not-so-good-for-you snacks. Things like candy canes, dried fruit (sorry…fruitcake!), and eggnog are staples during the winter holidays, but they can also wreak havoc on your teeth and your gums. Thankfully, you can still enjoy your holidays without these goodies, or you can find tasty alternatives that are lower in sugar so they won’t erode the natural enamel on your teeth.

Holiday Snacks the Whole Family Can Enjoy

This year, add some fun and festive, low-sugar alternatives to your holiday treats! In addition to these healthy holiday recipes, you can always take your must-have favorites and cut the sugar serving in half, or switch the sugar out altogether for a sweetener like Stevia. Keeping a sugar-free pack of gum and a glass of water nearby is also a good idea if you can’t help yourself or if you find yourself wanting to indulge in a cookie or a piece of chocolate. These no-guilt snacks also help to rid your mouth of any lingering sugar particles that could promote decay.

Try these healthier treat suggestions and see which is the biggest hit with your family and friends!

Egg Snowmen

This recipe is an egg-cellent way to start your holiday dinner. Eggs are a good source of protein and Vitamin D – which is essential for oral health. Carrots can act as a sort of natural toothbrush, helping to clean plaque off your teeth when you eat them raw. Plus, the adorable snowmen are bound to be a hit at any holiday party!

The recipe serves 6 and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 small hard-boiled eggs
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 skewer
  • Uncooked pasta or pretzel sticks (to hold the snowman in place)
  • Parsley

Directions:

Start by peeling the eggs and chopping the carrots. You’ll need a piece of the carrot from each end (about half a centimeter thick). For each snowman, you’ll be using one larger egg, which sits at the base, and one small one as the head.

Next, cut off the top and bottom of each egg so that it can stand up freely. Arrange the eggs and the carrots, and then stick the skewer through the middle of the egg snowman. Do the same with the carrot top hat.

Use the pasta or pretzel stick to hold the egg snowman and his carrot hat in place. Then, use the skewer to make a small hole for the eyes, the nose, and the mouth (if you want). Use peppercorns for the eyes and mouth and a small piece of carrot for the nose. Finally, add a sprig of parsley on either side for the arms.

Fruit Skewers

While dried fruit may be a dental disaster, you can still enjoy fresh fruit, with less worry. You might want to avoid produce that is high in acid or in sugar in order to reduce enamel erosion, but other than that, this makes for a delicious anytime snack. For a fun and festive twist, use cookie cutters to cut them into fun shapes, like snowflakes!

What You’ll Need:

  • Various fruits, like grapes, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe. You can modify which fruits you use based on your liking. Or, stick to red and green fruits for a holiday theme!
  • Skewers

Directions:

Cut the fruits into one-inch pieces, or use small cookie cutters to create designs. Assemble them on the skewers in your order of preference. Serve and enjoy!

Algerian Carrots

You can even incorporate teeth-healthy recipes into the dinner line-up! We mentioned that raw carrots made a great snack, but cooked carrots can also promote oral health, as they stimulate saliva, which helps to keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria.

This recipe serves six and takes about 45 minutes to make.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

Start by boiling water on the stove on medium heat, steaming the carrots until they are tender (but not mushy) for about five minutes. Drain, and reserve ½ cup of the water. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Stir in the garlic and spices (except the bay leaf), and cook on low, frequently stirring until fragrant. This process should take about ten minutes. Finally, add the reserved liquid, bay leaf, and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes before tossing in the carrots for another 2-3 minutes. Before serving, remove the bay leaf, and stir in the lemon juice.

Gingerbread Cookies

This dessert is a tradition for many families during the winter, but most recipes call for a ton of sugar and molasses, which are definitely not good for your teeth! Thankfully, you can substitute some of the ingredients so you can keep enjoying this classic treat for years to come.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups Almond Flour (feel free to use all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Gluten-free Baking Powder
  • ¼ cup Erythritol (or similar sugar replacement)
  • ¼ cup Butter (softened)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the baking powder, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the soft ingredients, starting with the butter and the sweetener. Once fully integrated, beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Finally, stir in the dry ingredients and mix well to start forming the mixture. Put the finished dough in the fridge to cool, before rolling out and cutting into shapes. Bake for 10-12 minutes, and allow to cool before decorating or serving.

Avoid a Dental Visit This Holiday

Nobody wants to spend their winter holidays at the dentist’s office—not even your dentist! At Williams Dental & Orthodontics, our dentists always recommend that their patients try to hold back on sweets and on excessive amounts of alcohol during the holidays. In the long run, it’s better for your oral health not to over-indulge. Plus, it’ll help your teeth stay healthy for many more years to come! A little bit of snacking here and there isn’t the end of the world, but just be sure to stay on top of your oral health routines, and don’t forget to brush twice a day! Contact us today at (918) 396-3711 to schedule your first dental cleaning of 2019!

Want to Give Up Smoking? Join the Great American Smokeout!

This November, Give Your Dentist a Reason to Smile

Every year, tobacco claims the lives of 1,300 people every single day. Over 60 million Americans live with some disease either as a direct result of cigarettes or from another form of smoking. No matter what you smoke—cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, or e-cigarettes/vapes smoke contains carcinogens that can be deadly. The American Cancer Society works tirelessly every day to promote awareness about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, especially in our youth.

This November?whether you are already living tobacco-free or are hoping to take the first step in that direction?pledge your support towards a 100% smoke-free lifestyle. The Great American Smokeout is here to help you if you are hoping to spread awareness or if you’d like to quit smoking yourself!

What is the Great American Smokeout?

Every year for the last 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted an event dedicated to quitting smoking. Together with thousands of other smokers from across the country, you can band together and pledge to have a smoke-free lifestyle. We understand that stopping smoking is hard, but we are here for you every step of the way. Together, the ACS and you can make your way towards a smoke-free America.

The nicotine in cigarettes and vapes leads to a powerful addiction. Before you know it, you are craving a cigarette almost all day long. In many cases, efforts to quit may not last and may require multiple attempts. But, that’s okay! The trick is to never stop trying and to understand that you may need help getting through the tough times. Thankfully, there are plenty of proven smoking-cessation techniques available right at your fingertips. Your dentist may even be able to recommend a few! Ultimately, investing in yourself, having a great support system, and taking advantage of the many resources out there can make the difference between just quitting smoking and finally becoming a non-smoker for life!

The Great American Smokeout will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2018. There is only one requirement to attend:  put down the cigarettes, and make a plan to stay smoke free! The American Cancer Society can offer you resources, educational materials, and life-long support while you battle the addiction, The urge to smoke is strong, but you are stronger, and ACS is here to help. Thousands of attendees will be making a promise to themselves to not only stay smoke-free for one day, but also for every other day following November 15th.

Tobacco and Oral Cancer

At Williams Dental & Orthodontics in Oklahoma, we celebrate the Great American Smokeout every year! We understand the importance of keeping cigarettes out of our patients’ lives?for more than just the sake of their smiles! Not only can smoking tobacco cause discoloration of your teeth, leading to yellow or brown stains, but also cigarettes can lead to very serious issues, such as mouth cancer. If left untreated, sores can appear on the skin or within the mouth, ultimately causing disfiguration or even spreading to other areas of the body.

30% of all cancer-related deaths in the United States are due to smoking or to tobacco use. The toxic ingredients in cigarettes can weaken your immune system and can also damage your cells and DNA. These poisons in your system can make fighting off invasive cancerous cells much harder, increasing your risk for developing oral cancer. Plus, tobacco use doesn’t affect just the user; more than 41,000 deaths occur every year as a result of secondhand smoke.

Protect Your Dental Health by Participating in the Great American Smokeout

If you are a smoker and are trying to quit, November 15th is the perfect day to start! Together with thousands of Americans throughout all 50 states, as well as supporters, friends, and advocates of the American Cancer Society, you can pledge to quit smoking!

It’s never too late to quit! In the first 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your body already begins to see improvements, and after 24 hours, even your risk of heart attack has declined! Ultimately, your dental health will improve if you cease smoking, and you may even consider having a dental whitening cosmetic enhancement to celebrate your new, smoke-free lifestyle! But, no matter what, the first step towards quitting smoking is the first step toward a healthier, happier you!

Are You at Risk for Oral Cancer

Learn More About How Mouth Cancer Can Affect Your Dental Health

Are your dental habits leading you down the path towards mouth cancer? Discover the signs, symptoms, and risks associated with oral disease.

Did you know that your dentist can screen for cancer? Cancer of the mouth is one of the most common forms of the disease, and adults over 20 should get tested regularly! The Oral Cancer Foundation reported approximately 49,750 cases of mouth cancer in the United States last year. Oral cancer can wreak havoc on both your dental and general health?especially if you are a smoker! Take the time to learn the warning signs of oral diseases, get tested regularly, and avoid harmful cigarettes.

What is Oral Cancer?

Cancer, simply put, is an abnormal growth of malignant cells. Throughout our lives, our cells are always splitting and regrowing, though typically in a controlled fashion. However, whenever that process is altered, it causes the cells to grow in a rapid manner, clustering to form what is known as a tumor. Oral cancer can happen anywhere on or around the mouth, including on your lips, gums, cheeks, and soft palate tissues. It often appears in the form of a lesion or sore, and if left untreated, the malignant cells can reach to other parts of your body, and the result can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

The good news is that, when detected early, oral cancer has an 80-90% survival rate.

So, how can you tell if you are developing signs of cancer and not another oral disease, such as gingivitis? While some symptoms, such as pain, bleeding, or swelling can be present in both, other indications that you may have oral cancer include:

  • Sores that develop near or in the mouth that bleed persistently and do not heal
  • Swollen areas, such as lumps, bumps, or thickenings
  • Developing abnormal white or red patches on the skin or inside the mouth
  • Loose teeth or dentures
  • Pain in the tongue, jaw, or throat
  • Stiffness, numbness, loss of feeling, or significant tenderness in the face, jaw, or inside the mouth (which may cause difficulty breathing, eating, or talking)
  • Ear pain
  • Soreness or swelling in the back of the throat
  • Significant, unexplained weight loss

Who is at Risk?

Studies have shown that oral cancer is typically found more often in men than women. Men over the age of 50, specifically, should take extra care to take preventative measures against the disease. However, the most significant correlation found is with oral cancer patients and tobacco. The use of tobacco?whether smoked or chewed?can significantly increase your chances of getting oral cancer. Around 90% of mouth cancer patients have also reported tobacco use.

Tobacco Use and Oral Cancer

All types of tobacco, including those found in cigars, cigarettes, or pipes, come from tobacco leaves; and, cigarette companies use a myriad of additives to help make the experience even more “enjoyable” for users. The truth is, tobacco smoke is made up of over 7,000 chemicals…and at least 70 of them are known carcinogens (aka, cancer-causing). Not only can they cause diseases in your mouth, lungs, or heart, but also cigarettes can ultimately be fatal. At least 30% of all deaths in the United States are attributed to complications from smoking, and there is no safe way to consume tobacco.

However, even non-smokers can develop cancerous tissue in their mouth, so it helps to know what else can increase your risk of oral cancer. Other causes of oral cavity cancer include:

  • Excessive alcohol use. In addition to being detrimental to your health, drinking lots of alcohol can also erode the natural coating on your teeth, making you more susceptible to other infections.
  • Exposure to the sun. As with other areas of your body, applying sunscreen to your lips and around your mouth can reduce your risk of melanoma or of other cancers.
  • Certain diseases, like HPV. Known as the human papillomavirus, HPV is a sexually-transmitted disease. So, practicing safe sex and getting regularly tested can help to significantly reduce this hazard.

Other factors, such as a family history of cancer or a weakened immune system may also put you at higher risk. Patients with these factors should be especially vigilant about taking preventative measures.

Protect Yourself, and Reduce Your Chances

The most proactive way to reduce your chance of infections, diseases, or cancer is by taking preventative measures. The best place to start is by quitting smoking! If you have never smoked or chewed tobacco?don’t start! Even using tobacco once can negatively impact your health, including the integrity of your teeth and gums. Other ways you can lessen your risk of developing cancer is by eating healthy, by properly brushing and flossing your teeth, and by visiting your dentist on a regular basis! At Williams Dental & Orthodontics, we offer general services, including cleanings and oral cancer screenings. If you or a family member needs to schedule a dental consultation in Skiatook, OK, call us today at (918) 396-3711!