When you think of Thanksgiving, you probably think of dinner staples like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. While most of us are worried about holiday weight gain around this time of year, there’s plenty of damage that can occur to your dental health too.
Unfortunately, many holiday favorites are infamous for being carb-heavy and full of sugar — two traits that can be disastrous for your pearly whites. In celebration of Thanksgiving, we’d like to remind our patients to show gratitude for their dental health by making smart dietary choices.
5 Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Your Smile
Protect the health of your smile by being selective with foods and drinks this holiday season. Some of the most damaging foods and beverages include:
Candied Nuts: Candied nuts often make a great appetizer or snack while getting dinner ready. However, since candied nuts are sticky, they can easily get stuck in between the teeth and other hard-to-reach areas. The leftover food particles will fuel bacteria to wreak havoc on your teeth and gums.
Rolls: Rolls are particularly dangerous because they are loaded with starch, which is broken down into sugars. Bacteria will feed on these simple sugars and create an enamel-eroding acid that contributes to the development of cavities.
Alcohol: Do you like to enjoy a glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner? Be mindful of the potential damage alcohol can cause. Wine and other alcoholic beverages cause dry mouth, which can increase your risk of tooth decay and bad breath.
Cranberries: Despite cranberries being rich in vitamins and antioxidants that actually benefit your health, most cranberry sauces have a ton of sugar added to them. The sugar in combination with its high acid content and tooth-staining effect make it one of the most harmful Thanksgiving foods.
Pecan Pie: Think twice about pecan pie this holiday! This type of pie is extremely sugary and contains sticky pecans that can linger and cause damage to your teeth.
How to Protect Your Smile this Thanksgiving
In addition to skipping harmful foods and drinks, there are plenty of other extra precautionary steps you can take to protect your smile. Other great ways to safeguard your dental health include:
Opting For Healthier Alternatives: You can still have a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner while avoiding harmful foods and drinks. Instead, we encourage you to choose dental-friendly alternatives for this year’s feast. For example, instead of snacking on candied nuts, choose a veggie plate with leafy greens. This won’t just help you avoid calorie-dense snacks, but it will also provide your smile with helpful vitamins and minerals.
Drink More Water: Water is essential for protecting your smile. A glass of water between dinner courses will help to wash away food particles and bacteria. Drinking more water will also help promote saliva production, which is important for managing acidity in the mouth.
Swap Sugar for Xylitol: Whether you’re preparing the main course or dessert, you’re probably going to need sugar for your recipe. If you’re cooking this holiday, we recommend switching out regular sugar for an alternative like xylitol. This type of sweetener doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and can actually make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the teeth.
Brush and Floss: This may seem like a given, but make sure to brush and floss after you’re done with dinner. Brushing and flossing will ensure that food particles are removed, minimizing your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
We Are Thankful For Our Kerrville Patients
From all of us here at Precision Dentistry & Implants, we wish our patients a wonderful Thanksgiving! While this is the perfect time of year to spend with friends and family, it’s also important to take care of your smile. So, if you have any concerns regarding your dental health, contact our office! We offer a range of dental services to address any problems you may have. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Huff!