With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for your family’s big feast! Before you indulge in your most beloved holiday foods this year, Dr. Don Peterson reminds you to take some time to think about your dental health. Thanksgiving is certainly a time to enjoy delicious dishes, but some Thanksgiving foods can be harmful to your teeth.
To help you take optimal care of you and your family’s oral health, here’s a list of foods you should avoid at Thanksgiving dinner — and others that are actually good for your dental health!
THANKSGIVING FOODS TO AVOID:
Rolls and Stuffing
Certainly, rolls and stuffing are staples of the American Thanksgiving dinner but beware. These starchy foods are full of sugary carbohydrates, which build up bacteria in the mouth and can lead to cavities. If you still want to indulge, just make sure to have a few drinks of water afterward to wash away food debris.
The occasional glass of holiday wine or beer is certainly alright. Some studies show that red wine may even be good for your heart health. Still, be wise about your alcohol consumption. Too much on a regular basis can reduce beneficial saliva production and erode tooth enamel (especially straight hard liquor).
Pies and Desserts
Most people enjoy at least a little dessert after their Thanksgiving meal, and when eaten in moderation, that’s perfectly fine. But do keep in mind that desserts like pecan and apple pie, ice cream, brownies, and cookies are your teeth’s mortal enemies. Full of starch and sugar, they’re dying to create cavities in your mouth. So if you must indulge, always follow up with water to wash them down, and eat sparingly.
Popcorn, in general, is no friend to your teeth. But caramel corn is an especially bad offender. The sugar causes a buildup of bacteria, and corn husks can become easily lodged in the spaces between your teeth.
THANKSGIVING FOODS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH:
Good news, right? Turkey is perfectly fine for your teeth because it doesn’t contain starch or sugar. It’s also got a significant amount of vitamin D, which supports tooth enamel strength.
In addition to being healthy for your body overall, veggies like chopped carrots and celery, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes are great for your teeth. The very act of chewing these foods helps your mouth produce extra saliva, which in turn gets rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
That’s right! If you’re going to treat yourself to a dessert this year, go with pumpkin pie. As opposed to other sugary pies and desserts, pumpkin pie actually packs a lot of calcium and a good dose of vitamin C!
Cheese and Nuts
Finally, if you’re looking for a little munchie while enjoying the company of your family and friends, look no further than cheese and nuts. With plenty of calcium and protein, these foods are good for your teeth long-term. Plus, chewing on them helps your mouth produce more bacteria-erasing saliva.
ENJOY A HAPPY (AND HEALTHY) HOLIDAY
If you do notice tooth stains after Thanksgiving, contact Iowa Pediatric Dental Center about our teeth whitening services. There’s no need to completely deprive yourself this Thanksgiving. But do keep in mind these suggestions for good and bad foods for your dental health. After all, you only get one set in life — keep them healthy!