Thanksgiving is about taking time to appreciate what we’re grateful for. For many, it’s also a time to indulge in a feast of savory and sweet holiday dishes that are reserved for this time of year.
While your taste buds may get special treatment around the holidays, it’s important not to let the dental hygiene routine you practice all year fall by the wayside as the year comes to a close.
There are plenty of tasty dishes that are good to gobble and won’t cause harm to your teeth and gums. Starting with perhaps the most obvious food group: vegetables. The vitamins A and C found in beets, broccoli, carrots, and celery can repair gums and prevent periodontal disease.
Pure pumpkin is also high in vitamin C and calcium, a combination that strengthens bones and teeth. While the same can’t be said about pumpkin pie, there are other ways to incorporate pumpkin into other items on your menu.
Two of the sweetest dishes on the table are surprisingly good for your taste buds and your teeth: cranberry sauce and yams.
Cranberry sauce made from real cranberries (not from a can) contains special compounds that can actually disrupt and break down the development of plaque-causing bacteria. And while yams are naturally sweet, they are also nutrient-rich and won’t stick to the surfaces of teeth if you can resist adding marshmallows. If you can’t resist sweetening them up, sprinkling a touch of brown sugar or molasses is the tooth-friendliest approach.
And finally, the main event: turkey. Turkey is protein-rich and contains phosphorus, which, when mixed with calcium and vitamin D, can help foster strong teeth and bones.
With all the tooth-friendly foods on the menu, there are just as many items to try to stay away from. One dish that likely comes to mind is pecan pie. The sticky, sugary, chewiness can latch onto your teeth and gums and create plaque buildup over time.
Other carb-loaded favorites that could leave residue on your teeth are two staples that might be hard to avoid: stuffings and breads. Unfortunately, the sugars in these starch-heavy treats can cause tooth decay if not thoroughly removed from the surfaces and nooks and crannies of your mouth.
When it comes time to raise a glass, we recommend trying something other than white wine. Although it may be your cocktail of choice because it won’t stain your teeth the same way red wine will, the high pH level in white wine packs an acidic punch that can erode your teeth.
If you aren’t able to make edits to your holiday menu—or you don’t care to—there are some tips you can keep in mind to fully enjoy the holiday while also keeping your teeth healthy and strong:
Brushing and flossing your teeth is the best and most fundamental place to start. To get ahead of any possible buildup and remove lingering food particles, try to brush your teeth and floss 30 minutes after eating. You can also try to drink a lot of water and chew gum to wash away food particles that could lodge themselves in the nooks and crannies of your mouth.
To make a big impact with a simple exercise, rinse your mouth with warm water or after your big holiday meal and enjoy the time with those near to you.
If you haven’t visited us lately, give us a call and we can make sure you’re on the calendar for 2023.
Have a happy Toothsgiving!