Teeth Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again! Across the country, families and friends are getting ready to gather and express their gratitude for all of the wonderful blessings in life. Along with spending time with loved ones, the star of any Thanksgiving celebration is the feast. Turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing will all likely be on the menu. And don’t forget the pumpkin pie! It’s a deeply rooted tradition with many Americans, and while most will concern themselves with thoughts of their waistlines, it’s a good idea to keep your oral health in mind too.

Here’s a look at some of the more popular Thanksgiving dishes, and what they mean for your oral health, from the experts at MouthHealthy.org.

Turkey

This lean meat packs a protein punch, which is great for your body. But turkey can also be difficult to eat, often getting stuck between your teeth. Keep your floss close by, and enjoy this holiday tradition.

Cranberry Sauce

A great compliment to any Thanksgiving plate, tart cranberries are often sweetened with sugar or sugar substitutes. The sticky, acidic and stain-causing dish is tasty, but can obviously create issues for your teeth. Fortunately, it’s recommended to eat this treat with a meal, minimizing the sticky and acidic effects. It’s a good thing it goes so well with turkey and stuffing!

Yams

Yams, or sweet potatoes, are rich in Vitamins A and C, which both help to keep your gums healthy. But on Thanksgiving, many prepare them candied, a recipe which often calls for marshmallows. Sticky foods tend to stay on your teeth longer, exposing them to more risk for damage. If enjoying them candied, be sure to exercise moderation and drink plenty of water to help wash away any particles that get left behind.

Green Bean Casserole

This dish usually includes mushrooms, onions and of course, green beans, all of which are healthy foods. But again, this dish can get a  bit on the sticky side and may get stuck in your teeth. Did we mention floss and water already? Keep them close and dig in!

Macaroni and Cheese

With cheese and milk as the main ingredients, we can’t overlook the calcium, which helps strengthen teeth. But we also can’t ignore the starchy pastas, which can leave sugar behind on your teeth. A sensible portion and a good brushing and flossing later on allow you to carelessly enjoy this Thanksgiving staple.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, B6 and potassium, all of which are important for your diet. But again, the starch leaves cavity-causing bacteria behind. And if a ladleful of gravy is added, the health benefits are fairly diminished. But many only indulge in this dish at the holidays, and once a year isn’t going to be too detrimental.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, which helps to keep gums healthy and builds the hard outer shell, or enamel, of your teeth. However, the added sugar in the pie (not to mention any whipped topping you might add) can cause issues with oral health. Eating sweets shortly after meals is recommended as it helps to keep saliva flowing, washing away leftover food particles.

Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so indulging is not going to send your oral health off the deep end. Just remember to keep your toothbrush and floss close by, and drink plenty of water while you eat. From all of us at Miami Dental Sedation Spa, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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