Thanksgiving is a time for great food with family members and maybe watching a little football. As you might be aware from past turkey days, a lot of those tasty food items contain more sugar than your tooth enamel bargained for.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make the big meal friendlier to your oral health. Keep reading for some tips to enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving!
Attempt to Control Your Sugar Intake
The problem with sugar, at least regarding your oral health, is when it lingers in your mouth. It feeds bacteria that produce harmful acids that hurt your enamel. Obviously, most desserts are going to be an issue in this regard, but don’t let cranberry sauce sneak under your radar either. Reducing your sugar intake or implementing brushing and flossing throughout the day are both doing your teeth major favors.
Choose Your Drinks Wisely
Many adults indulge in red wine on Thanksgiving, while apple juice may be all the rage at the kids’ table. Though 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 to drink water throughout the day to keep dry mouth at bay.
Avoid Sticky Foods as Much as Possible
Marshmallows, candied pecans, and even lemon bars – depending on family preferences – can add deliciousness to the Thanksgiving menu, 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. The problem with plaque is that it is a gateway to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral undesirables.
Steer Clear of Sharp or Hard-Textured Items
There’s no such thing as too much negative publicity for plaque, but sometimes a food item can be dangerous based simply on its potential to cut your mouth. Look out for the danger zone with hard candy, nuts, chips, 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. You should always floss daily in the evening, but there is no rule saying you can’t add a flossing session or two when you get food particles lingering after a meal.
Try to Avoid the All-Day Nibbling
It can be healthier to eat small meals throughout the day, depending on who you ask, 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 turkey day, try to target 1-2 more instances where you will eat something in addition to the main meal in the afternoon or evening.
There’s a lot going on during Thanksgiving to distract you, but don’t let your oral health get lost in the hustle and bustle. If your teeth could speak, they’d be talking your ear off about getting you to have a glass of water or a bathroom trip for brushing. Do them a solid while you are savoring all the flavors!
About the Practice
At Dental Center of Jacksonville, maintaining the relaxation of our valued patients is always a top priority. That’s why we’ve invested in enjoyable amenities and comfort-based technology – we want you and your family to feel at ease during every appointment. Speaking of appointments, we’ve talked about the food at Thanksgiving, not to mention that candy back during Halloween and the feast that awaits at Christmastime. It sure seems like a suitable time of year for a dental cleaning and exam to make sure your pearly whites are healthy and looking great. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (904) 262-9466.