Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness, sharing cherished memories, and eating to your heart’s content. There’s hardly a more cozy and celebrated time to bring out family recipes and start dishing out. But what about your teeth? Don’t they get a say in what goes in your mouth? All too often, the answer is no, and your oral health may degrade because of it.
If you’re ready to step up and listen to your teeth this Thanksgiving, continue reading. You’ll find five strategies to keep your oral health happy while enjoying the holiday festivities.
1. Replace Your Sugar with Fruit
Table sugar that goes into many family sweets is highly processed and supercharges the bacterial plaque in your mouth. You could try replacing it with a sugar substitute, but it probably won’t taste the same.
A great alternative is to change your dessert menu to include more fresh fruit! This will cut down on processed or added sugar that contributes to cavities. Not only that, but some fruits like apples can help clean your teeth as you eat them. If you’re set on some sugar, caramel apples are delicious and nutritious.
2. Keep Water on the Table
Many Americans don’t drink enough water. During Thanksgiving, it can be an especially important part of digestion and keeping your teeth clean. Water increases saliva production in your mouth, which will help break down your food and fight cavities.
Keeping water on the table can remind others to drink more and provide a way to clean teeth between bites.
3. Dilute Your Acids
Cranberry sauce, wine, coffee, and many of the staple Thanksgiving options are high in acidity. Plaque creates its own acid that wears down your tooth enamel but adding extra acid increases the rate of erosion. This will create weak, sensitive teeth over time and can increase the likelihood of cavities. Sipping water between bites can help dilute the acid on your teeth.
4. Moderate the Starch
Besides sugar, starch is a favorite meal for the bacteria in your mouth. Potatoes, pasta, and white bread are all starchy favorites that may be included in Thanksgiving meals. This sticky substance will cling to your teeth, and if left untreated will cause cavities and possibly gum disease.
5. Provide Fibrous Vegetables
Vegetables high in fiber like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and turnip greens are basically nature’s toothbrushes. As you eat your other foods that may be high in starch, sugar, or acid, these vegetables can clean your teeth as you chew.
Boiling these doesn’t change their fiber content, and baked Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze and cranberries will be your next big hit guaranteed.
With these five tooth-friendly tips, your feast this year will be both delicious and easy on your pearly whites. Once the festivities are over, consider scheduling a dentist appointment to check on anything you might have missed. A good dental exam can stop problems before they start and leave you with a beautiful smile for all the Thanksgivings to come.
About the Author
Dr. James Kirby is a caring and skilled dentist with many years of experience serving the community. He earned his dental degree at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, earning the Harold S. Cloogman scholarship for academic performance. Since then, he has continued his studies in both private practice and corporate sectors of dentistry learning the latest in dental techniques and practices. To schedule an appointment at Green Hills Dental Center, call (615) 327-2123 or visit the website to learn more.