If you’re looking for ways to make this year’s Thanksgiving meal a little healthier for your oral health, then we have seven tips to help you keep everyone’s teeth and gums happy this year.
Slow Down on the Sugar
If you love sweets, then Thanksgiving is often a sugared-filled delight for you. Marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, cranberry relish, and a variety of pies covered in whipped cream are often packed with sugar. That’s tough on your teeth because sugar is a favorite food of bacteria in your mouth. And bacteria consuming sugar is the first step in the creation of a cavity in your mouth. There’s a simple solution to avoid all that sugar switch to erythritol or xylitol. They don’t create cavities but are great as sweeteners.
Beware of Brightly-Colored Foods and Drinks
If your Thanksgiving spread includes red wine, cranberry relish, cherry or blueberry pie, then you might want to reconsider your choices. Brightly-colored food and drink can dull the enamel on your teeth and increase the odds of staining. So this year, cut back on bright foods and be sure to drink lots of water to wash away those stain-causers.
Reduce the Starches
Stuffing, cornbread and rolls are all starch-filled which is why most of us love them. But consider cutting down on the amount you eat this year. You’ll get a double bonus if you do that because you’ll be reducing the calories you consume and reducing the opportunity for bacteria in your mouth to use the starches as food (starches convert to sugar when you eat them) that can lead to cavities. This year have an extra portion of protein or vegetables instead of a starch-filled food.
Acid Makes Your Teeth’s Enamel Unhappy
Acidic foods and beverages are tough on the enamel that covers and protects your teeth. The reason? The acid softens your teeth’s enamel, making it easier for bacteria to start the process of creating cavities. Cranberry juice and red wine are the biggest culprits in terms of acidity. But you can reduce the impact by keeping a glass of water handy and sipping from it between drinks of your acidic beverage. Also, be sure to wait at least 30 minutes before you brush after you have eaten acidic foods. The acid softens your enamel and the bristles on your toothbrush can damage the enamel.
Get A Little Nutty
You can strengthen and remineralize your teeth by spending some time at the nut dish this Thanksgiving. That’s because nuts are loaded with calcium and good minerals. Plus the nuts produce lots of saliva when you chew them!
Think Rainbow When You Fill Your Plate
If your plate on Thanksgiving looks like a rainbow of colorful vegetables, then your teeth will be happy. That’s because vegetables are packed with minerals and vitamins. Orange and red vegies will provide you with lots of Vitamin C, while green leafy vegies will deliver lots of calcium. A bonus is the fact that chewing raw vegetables will create lots of saliva, which will naturally wash away your oral enemy bacteria. And don’t forget celery’s fibrous strands are great at helping clean between your teeth!
Drinks Lots of Waterâ€¦And Have a Cup of Tea
Damage to your enamel caused by acids is reversed when you drink fluoridated tap water. You also double your cavity-fighting efforts if you brew some green or black tea using fluoridated tap water. Teas kill bacteria and thus fight cavities. Sipping water or tea while you eat will also wash away acids caused by starchy and sugar-laden foods.
Sources: MouthHealthy.org (American Dental Association), DeltaDental.com, Colgate.com