Dental Tips for Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is a time where most are busy planning for family and friend gatherings, getting prepared for a smorgasbord of food, and pondering on all the reasons they have to be thankful. Tooth health is probably the last thing on your mind.

After all, it's one of the few days of the year where diets, calorie counting, and blended green meals are universally off most tables.

This may be a fantastic day for taste buds and tummies, but it's not such a great day for the teeth.

Cavities And Food

Most have heard that sugar causes cavities. True... in part. Harmful bacteria feeds off the sugar. The bacteria creates acid that wears away tooth enamel and forms glucans, which houses its own bacteria. Thus a cavity can be born.

Moderation And Smart Choices This Thanksgiving

Understand that moderation and smart choices are key here. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast , but do so with your oral health in mind.

Here are eight tips to help you make smart choices this Thanksgiving:

1. Don't add sugar and starch where you don't need it.

Research some low-sugar, low-starch menu options and recipes. For example, most fruits are naturally sweet; try adding spices to apple pie and nixing most of the added sugar. Do miniature sized breads, or nix them for a veggie tray. Forgo the additional marshmallows on the already naturally sweet yams. Try fresh cut green beans sautéed in olive oil vs the green bean casserole of canned vegetables covered in starch.

2. Go fresh.

Did you know studies have shown fresh cranberries can reduce the damage done by harmful bacteria because they disrupt the glucan forming and sticking process. So, don't negate this benefit by picking up a can of sugary canned cranberries. Go fresh.

Fresh carrots and celery contain beta carotene, which helps you create the tooth friendly Vitamin A. When raw, they also act like mini plaque scrubbers.

3. Eat all the turkey you please.

Turkey has phosphorus in it, which aides in tooth development.

4. Get your pumpkin pie on.

Instead of a pecan pie full of syrup, do a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin dishes are high in Vitamin C, which keeps gums healthy and helps to build enamel. Instead of bread, do some roasted pumpkin seeds.

5. Focus on the vegetables.

Try to incorporate greens, green beans, butternut squash, asparagus, and other winter veggies into your side dishes. These are rich in both Vitamin C and A. Maybe add a fresh kale and broccoli salad to the menu instead of a jello fruit salad.

6. Water, more water...

Drink water with your meal. A couple glasses of red wine are fine since it also has properties that prevent harmful bacteria from going on the attack. Make sure you drink water after your meal and between any pre and post-meal snacks, too.

7. Brush and floss

In some families, Thanksgiving 'meal' is an all day affair of cooking and eating. Make sure that you brush your teeth after snacking and main meals.

8. Prevention

Schedule a checkup with your Houston Pediatric dentist to make sure the kids don't have existing oral problems that could ruin a fabulous holiday with a tooth ache.

With some planning, you can make your Thanksgiving meal as pleasing to your teeth as it is your tummy. If you have any questions or concerns on what should be on your Thanksgiving menu or oral health, do call your Houston pediatric dentist. They will be glad to help you plan a tooth-friendly holiday.