The last thing you are probably thinking about when gathering around the dinner table with family and friends for Thanksgiving is your oral health, but you should. There are plenty of foods that are commonly served during Thanksgiving meals that are actually good for your teeth.
Wondering what types of foods help improve your oral health? Here is a look at some examples of Thanksgiving foods that have proven to keep your gums, teeth, and mouth happy and healthy.
Vegetables are probably the most common side dish served at Thanksgiving. Luckily, they contain numerous vitamins and minerals that keep your teeth healthy and strong.
In addition to containing lots of vitamins and minerals, vegetables can increase your saliva production. Increased saliva production works almost as a natural mouth cleanser. When the saliva cleans the mouth it neutralizes harmful bacteria and acids that could destroy your teeth or cause gum disease.
Before you start grabbing every vegetable you see on the dinner table, it is important to note that it depends on how the vegetable is cooked or served. Raw vegetables, the crunchy kind usually served as a pre-meal snack, are the best. If you eat raw vegetables make sure you are careful about how much dressing or dips you use. Dressings and dips can contain a lot of sugar which will harm your teeth.
You will want to avoid vegetables that are marinated in sugary sauces. These have a high sugar content and can actually cause more damage to your teeth.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the turkey. Luckily, your teeth love turkey because it is packed with a lot of protein. Your teeth need protein in order to retain healthy and strong.
Again, just like vegetables, you will want to be careful with how the turkey is prepared. If it has a sugary-sweet glaze on it, be careful with the amount you consume. Also be careful with the amount of gravy you put on the turkey as gravy can contain high amounts of sugar.
The best way to consume turkey this Thanksgiving so your teeth stay healthy and happy is to do so as plainly as possible. If you want to put a little gravy on, go ahead but make sure you only put a small amount on your turkey.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is one of those treats that can be really good for your teeth and mouth, or it can be really bad. It all depends on what type of cranberry sauce is being served. If the cranberry sauce comes straight from a can, it probably contains a lot of sugars and added preservatives that will damage your teeth. You want to avoid the canned sauce and go for homemade cranberry sauce.
Homemade cranberry sauce contains antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. All of these things have been proven to help improve your overall health, including your oral health. The antioxidants have been proven to protect you from gum disease while vitamin C can strengthen your immune system so you are able to fight off dangerous diseases and infections. Meanwhile, the fiber in the sauce can help reduce your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Remember to Practice Good Oral Hygiene This Thanksgiving
No matter what you eat this Thanksgiving, whether it is food that is good for your oral health or not, it is important that you practice good oral hygiene.
Remember to do the following:
- Limit sugar intake as much as possible
- Brush your teeth after eating. Just make sure you wait 20 minutes as brushing immediately after eating can cause you to spread bacteria around your mouth.
- Properly floss your teeth at least once a day
- Drink plenty of water so you stay hydrated and your saliva production is increased
- Be careful with sticky foods that could damage your teeth
- Follow up with your dentist for a routine professional cleaning
Looking for more tips on how to protect your teeth this Thanksgiving? Feel free to ask our dentist during your next routine examination. Our dentist at Cocoa Beach Family Dentistry will gladly answer any questions you have about how to keep your teeth healthy and happy this Thanksgiving. Call us today to schedule an appointment.