Thanksgiving is right around the corner and is a highly anticipated time to overindulge in delicious seasonal treats, like sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. While there is nothing wrong with a little holiday indulgence, some of these yummy treats can seriously damage your teeth. Here are some things you can do to keep your mouth healthy, while you enjoy the delicious Thanksgiving feast.
- Eat nuts and cheese as appetizers while you are waiting for the main course. Nuts and cheese are both great for teeth because they contains calcium and minerals that strengthen teeth and help prevent cavities.
- Opt for turkey, sweet potatoes, and veggies as these foods contain protein, vitamins and minerals that are good for your teeth. However, keep in mind that when cooked with marshmallows (i.e. sweet potato casserole) and syrups, these foods become harmful to your teeth. The sugar and sticky texture of syrups and marshmallows cause plaque to build up on your teeth and cavities to form.
- Avoid sugary and sticky sides, such as cranberry sauce, which stick to your teeth and foster enamel-eroding bacteria. Watch out for cranberry sauce in particular, as the acidity of the sauce can soften the enamel and the bright color of the sauce can stain teeth.
- Cut down on starches, such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, which convert into sugar and erode your teeth. Opt for more protein and veggie options instead.
- Limit your dessert (e.g. fruit cake and pumpkin pie) which are packed with sugar. Sugar can contribute to tooth decay because bacteria love feeding on it and that's how cavities form. Choose homemade dessert with less sugar or replace dessert altogether with fresh fruit.
Let's face it, Thanksgiving is only once a year and you are bound to overindulge in unhealthy, delicious, home-cooking. If that's the case, remember to drink plenty of water, which helps displace sugary food and drinks and can help mitigate the harmful effects of sugar. In addition, to ensure your teeth stay clean and healthy, floss and brush your teeth more often throughout Thanksgiving Day (around three times throughout the day) to get turkey, corn, and other food particles off of your teeth. For good measure, we also highly recommend making a routine dental appointment after the holidays for a check up and dental cleaning.
The holidays are not particularly tooth-friendly, but exercising moderation and good dental hygiene can help you prevent accumulating cavities after the holiday season is over.