Whatever the festive or holiday occasion you celebrate at this time of year, chances are part of the celebrations include specialty treats – the kind that only get made once or twice a year. After all, that’s what makes them so special. In some cases, there are other things that make them special too, certain ingredients that one might not always expect to find baked into their tasty treats or roasted alongside the roasted turkey. In fact, occasionally traditions can be hazardous to your teeth!
We’ll start with an easy one that you find across many cultures, during holidays and New Years and sometimes even for birthdays. It’s called the “Money Cake.” For many families it is a tradition to bake coins, either collectibles or actual currency, into a cake that is being baked to welcome in the new year. It’s fine if you know what to expect but if your guests aren’t warned, you could be looking at a chipped, cracked or broken tooth! That’s excluding the other obvious flaw – that a money cake can present a choking hazard. Traditions are great but if this is one for your family – make sure you practice “safe eating!”
Perhaps you hang the stockings with care “in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there?” Another great holiday tradition and who wouldn’t want a stocking full of goodies? This year though, we invite you to think outside of the box (or er…ummm, the stocking) and get creative. A treat or two is always welcome, it is the holidays after all but where Halloween is all about chocolate, Christmas seems to be all about the hard candy. There’s peppermints and candy canes, humbugs and lifesavers, all kinds of candy just waiting to be chomped down on with potentially damaging side effects. If a visit to the Dentist isn’t on your Christmas wish list, think carefully about what gets stuffed in the stocking!
Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit!
Other items to be watchful of include Christmas cake (or fruit cake) and yes, even Panettone. The former is often chock full of nuts, sultanas, dried fruits and sometimes even alcohol while the latter is soft and bread-like in texture but can also catch you off-guard with dried fruits or candied fruits. Once again these are all little extras that might catch you and your teeth unawares and next thing you know a filling has fallen out! In the case of christmas cakes and puddings and anything with dried fruit you are also going to experience an excess of sugary and sticky residue so brushing your teeth afterwards is a MUST!
Still more traditions….
When it comes to other traditional holiday dishes, roasted or fried, boiled or broiled here are a few more tips to consider: Dates, entire fish with the head attached and pomegranates will be served around some tables this holiday season presenting sticky, chewy challenges, the risk of bones and crunchy seeds. Haft Mehwa will mean enjoying 7 fruits, nuts and seeds including pistachios, walnuts and more dried fruit – be careful! Some cultures will be eating a pig’s ear on New Years to symbolize good luck in the coming year, and we think that’s putting a lot of pressure on your teeth to perform.
If we were to go completely around the world this blog would be many, many pages long! Traditions are wonderful and we hope that whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or one of many other traditions we hope you have a wonderful time gathering with your family and friends but urge you to be careful as you partake of all that cheer! Of course, we also remind you; “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”