This is one of our favorite holidays. We have a lot to be thankful for—including all of our patients. We’re also thankful for the great time we get to spend with friends and family this holiday, and the delicious meals we get to share with them.
Of course, working in the oral health field always makes us think about what we are eating, and how it affects our teeth. We decided to share a little “Thanksgiving and Your Teeth” meal breakdown. Here’s what we’ve got to say about some traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
Gobble, gobble! Eat it all up, but keep the floss nearby. Turkey is great for you, and for your teeth. It’s an excellent source of protein and phosphorous, which are two key nutrients for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Of course, turkey tends to get stuck between teeth, so you may want to floss after your meal.
Keep it to a light glaze. Cranberry sauce gets mixed oral health reviews: on one hand, cranberries are very nutritious, and actually contain a compound that has been shown to reduce cavity formation; on the other hand, cranberry sauces tend to be laden with sugar, which is bad for your teeth. Try to stick to low-sugar variations, and eat it with other foods, since cranberries are also acidic.
No, no, potato. Despite being a crowd favorite, mashed potatoes do not score high on the list of mouth-healthy Thanksgiving delights. Potatoes are starches, and the bacteria that causes cavities are drawn to the sugar that makes up starch. On the bright side, dairy products are good for your teeth, because they are low in sugar and acidity, and high in calcium. Since you will likely help yourself to at least one serving of mashed potatoes, you have a good excuse for that extra helping of butter.
Treat yourself, in moderation. We’ve got good news: pumpkin is good for your teeth! Vitamin A (which is plentiful in pumpkin) helps build enamel, and keeps gums healthy. The downfall with pie is the added sugar. At least you can have a slice of pie knowing that the mouth-watering dish will stimulate salivary flow, which will help wash away leftover food.
Add onion wherever you can! Put it in your stuffing, add it to a sauce, or caramelize onions in olive oil and use to top your turkey. Anti-bacterial sulphur compounds help kill bacteria in your mouth, so enjoy every bite!
After you’ve savored your holiday meal, come visit us and we’ll make sure your teeth are prepared to take on many more years of shared family dinners. Make an appointment by calling 952-443-3368.