Getting together with your family and friends for a vast array of delicious foods, what could be better? Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many, but to your teeth, it is a journey with concerning, yet avoidable, threats. With some sound decision-making, you can ensure a healthy Thanksgiving for your teeth. Keep reading to get tips from your dentist in New Braunfels.
Attempt to Limit Your Sugar Consumption
Sugar is problematic when it lingers in your mouth. It feeds bacteria that produce harmful acids which hurt your enamel. Obviously, most desserts are suspects here, but don’t let sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce sneak up on you, either. Reducing your sugar intake or implementing brushing and flossing throughout the day are both doing your teeth major favors.
Choose Your Beverages Wisely
Red wine is a popular choice on Thanksgiving, and fruit juice might be featured at the kids’ table. While tasty, drinks like these are high in acidity to elevate the risk for your enamel. Sugary or alcoholic drinks also cause dry mouth which is an issue considering your saliva is normally hard at work to keep your teeth and gums clean. Try drinking as much water as possible throughout the day.
Beware of Sticky Foods
Candied pecans, caramel, and marshmallows can add some flair to Thanksgiving cuisine, but while your taste buds are cheering, your enamel is cowering. These items are packed with sugar and leave your teeth with a sticky residue that is liable to linger and produce plaque buildup. It is, of course, a facilitator for tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.
Be Careful with Hard or Sharp Foods
Your mouth isn’t always facing danger from plaque buildup – sometimes it’s a matter of food texture. On Thanksgiving Day, there are many potential suspects like hard candy, nuts, and turkey bones just to name a few. Just be careful when biting and chewing so that your gums don’t get stabbed or something hard doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, dentures, or braces. If it happens, it helps to have some dental floss ready to roll.
Plan for and Stick with Selected Eating Times
You may have heard that it’s healthier to eat several small meals throughout the day than a couple of large ones, but that also requires more maintenance on your teeth. If you aren’t brushing after every snack session, you are constantly exposing your teeth and gums to plaque-producing substances. On Thanksgiving, perhaps allow yourself 1-2 eating opportunities in addition to the major meal.
It’s not hard to get distracted by everything going on during Thanksgiving and forget about your oral health. Your teeth are surely hoping you’ll drink water throughout the day or make some bathroom trips for brushing. Do them those favors as you are enjoying all the flavors!
About the Author
Dr. Aaron Haag earned his dental doctorate from the University of Nebraska. He constantly strives to learn more about his field, completing several courses on dental implants and additional training on 3D printing, intraoral scanning, cosmetic dentistry, and more. It’s important to him that you receive the best-possible care. Dr. Haag can provide further tips on navigating a healthy Thanksgiving for your smile during your next checkup and cleaning. Schedule an appointment on his website or call (830) 625-1515.