Thanksgiving is the biggest feast day in America, and with all that eating comes an increased risk for dental problems. Of course, it is still possible to enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without putting your teeth at risk. You can take the following smart steps this holiday to ensure that your dental health isn’t negatively affected by your delicious dinner and dessert.
As always, it is important to enjoy sugar in moderation and drink plenty of water after eating sugary foods. Take these precautions when indulging in the following sugary foods on Thanksgiving:
- Cranberry Sauce: if eaten alone, the sugar and acid can cause havoc in your mouth
- Candied Yams: don’t let the sticky glaze sit on your teeth too long
- Pies, cakes, cookies, and ice cream: best enjoyed with a meal to counteract their decay-causing traits
- Soft drinks: It’s best to drink water with your Thanksgiving meal, to cut back on sugar as well as calories
A few Thanksgiving foods can leave stains on your teeth, including cranberry sauce, red wine, and coffee. To avoid stains, enjoy these foods and drinks with a meal rather than alone. You should also brush your teeth within an hour of your dinner. If you wait too long, the stains can settle in.
Watch Out for Starches
Some of the best Thanksgiving foods are starches like mashed potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, and mac and cheese. These starchy foods turn “gummy” once chewed, and that starchy gum can stick to your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth will then feed on the starch and create decay. To properly remove the starch and maintain your dental health, make sure to brush and floss after your meal.
Remember to Floss
Flossing is extra important after your Thanksgiving meal because a few popular foods tend to get stuck in between your teeth. Foods like turkey, green beans, and corn are all likely to get stuck in your teeth. Floss within an hour of eating, and your teeth will thank you!
Fortunately, a Thanksgiving dinner is often full of good things like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You can still enjoy these foods while engaging in a few other healthy Thanksgiving Day strategies to maintain and protect your physical and dental health. These healthy behaviors can include:
- Snacking on veggies and nuts as an appetizer rather than high-fat cheese sauces or dips.
- Enjoying reasonable portions of starches and proteins to make room for other healthy foods and avoid feeling lethargic.
- Savor small quantities of sweets, and take your time eating that slice of pie.
Thanksgiving can be fun, but that enjoyment shouldn’t come at the expense of your dental health. By following the above tips, you can maintain excellent oral health while indulging in delicious Thanksgiving foods.
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