It’s almost time for Thanksgiving, a holiday known for a big meal and special holiday treats like cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. As your dentist, we don’t expect you to completely skip treats, but you can choose smart Thanksgiving food to help protect your dental health.
Some foods are more damaging to your teeth than others. Check out our rundown on some Thanksgiving favorites:
- Turkey – This entree is one of the least problematic dishes on your table. It has lots of protein, which is good for you. About the only dental knock against it is its tendency to get stuck in teeth. If that happens to you, remove it as soon as you can after eating.
- Pie – When it comes to pie, pumpkin is a better option than apple, cherry, or chocolate. Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, which strengthens tooth enamel. It also tends to have less added sugar than other pies and usually isn’t topped with meringue. Pumpkin won’t stain your teeth as berries can. To keep it as healthy as possible, eat it without a whipped cream topping.
- Cranberries – Cranberry sauce usually contains lots of sugar to balance out the tartness of the berries. Plus, it can really stain your teeth since the sticky sauce can cling to enamel. Use cranberry sauce sparingly and drink lots of water during the meal to help rinse it away from teeth.
- Mac and Cheese – This is one of your better choices when it comes to side dishes, thanks to the calcium it contains. Calcium is good for your teeth. However, pasta is starchy, and starches turn into sugar inside your mouth. Mashed potatoes, another popular side dish, also are quite starchy. Peas, carrots, green beans, and other veggies are good choices. However, take it easy if they are swimming in sweet sauces.
Use Other Smart Strategies to Keep Teeth in Great Shape
In addition to choosing smart Thanksgiving food at the holiday table, we encourage you to:
- Choose Beverages Wisely Too – As always, water is your best choice, especially during the meal. It helps wash away sticky and acidic substances that can damage your teeth. We recommend drinking lots of water during the meal. Skip the soda, as it contains lots of sugar and acid that can eat into your tooth enamel. Unsweetened iced tea is also a good choice, although tea can stain teeth. Rinse your mouth with water after having tea, if possible.
- Brush & Floss Your Teeth – We know watching football after eating a meal makes you want to nap. Brush and floss your teeth before settling on the couch, if possible. If not, try to rinse your mouth to help rinse away food debris.
- See Us for an Exam – We recommend seeing us every six months for an exam and cleaning. We will clean every bit of bacteria-attracting plaque from your teeth, including the areas it’s easy to miss at home. We also look for signs of problems like small cavities and early gum disease so we can treat them before they become bigger issues that will cost more to solve.
The end of the year will be here before you know it! If you need to schedule an exam and cleaning in our Tigard, OR office for yourself or other family members, call us today at 503-210-9802.