We all know the common hazards of eating too much rich food on Thanksgiving: long naps and loosened belts. But just as we all are thankful for our blessings on this holiday, so can we keep our teeth thankful on Turkey Day—especially at the dessert table!
Don’t worry, our Edinburg pediatric dentists at Heroes Dental have the scoop on how you and your family can practice good oral hygiene while not missing out on such a delicious spread this Thanksgiving.
1. Eat Tons of Turkey
The good news is, there’s actually a lot to love about the food we eat over the Thanksgiving holiday. Turkey, for instance, is packed with all sorts of nutrients, but protein is what really makes the appetizing avian the star of the holiday.
Protein contains high amounts of phosphorus, which is important for keeping your bones and teeth strong. It also delivers other crucial minerals to your teeth, further protecting them from cavities. Plus, protein is also great at keeping you full and less likely to eat as many servings of sugary delights.
Turkey is also not your only option; in fact, ham can be an excellent alternative. Ham contains a lot of zinc–up to 15 grams, depending on the size–which helps the body rebuild the gum line and is great for children who have braces. Don’t forget to cut your meat into small pieces to avoid getting little bits stuck in them, and remember that glazed hams also contain a lot of sugar, which can also promote cavities.
2. Drink Lots of Water
From candied yams to green bean casserole, there are a lot of sticky holiday foods that can get stuck between your teeth. Luckily, there’s a simple way to keep smiling with confidence: drink lots of water.
Water is great for washing away food from your teeth and gums while you’re eating, and it also is much better for your teeth than sugary drinks like soda, no matter what day of the year it is.
In the long run, water is great for your overall health, providing the body with hydration and helping you produce the saliva that flushes out any lingering harmful bacteria or bits of food debris.
3. Watch Out for Canned Goods
We all know that Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and it’s okay to treat yourself for the holidays! But, we can keep our eyes out for ways to eat the things we want in a healthier way.
In this case, that means avoiding canned fruit and cranberry sauce from a can which can be far higher in sugar than homemade or fresh alternatives. Cranberry sauce in particular can be very sugary and acidic, two qualities that can damage your enamel. You can, however, eat it with a meal to reduce its impact.
4. Floss, Floss, Floss!
Flossing is the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy all year round. While this simple technique does wonders at removing bits of debris that gets in between your teeth, it’s easy to get distracted by holiday celebrations.
Sugary bits of cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and even turkey are all notorious for getting wedged in between your teeth, but a handy pack of floss can make all the difference. You wouldn’t want the bacteria in your mouth to get a hold of this debris in between your teeth, as the acid they produce after eating it can wear down enamel and cause cavities.
5. Schedule a Holiday Exam Early
Regular appointments with your Edinburg pediatric dentist at Heroes Dental are a must for your family’s oral health, and that is still true during the holiday season. Regular exams help your dentist monitor the health of your teeth, gums, and other parts of your mouth in order to make a dental hygiene and oral health plan that’s right for you.
A post-Thanksgiving appointment is a great way to get the sugar out from your teeth with a thorough teeth cleaning.