Thanksgiving is all about spending time with friends and family and eating delicious seasonal foods like turkey, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce. If you’re thankful for good oral health, show your teeth how much you care by eating more smile-friendly food and less tooth-staining and cavity-causing food this Thanksgiving.
Load Up on These Smile-Friendly Food Choices
Many vitamins and minerals are hiding in your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Here are the foods that will help you smile the brightest this holiday season:
- Turkey: You’ll be pleased to hear that turkey, the quintessential Thanksgiving food, is smile-friendly! The meat is high in phosphorus, which supports calcium in rebuilding tooth enamel. To keep the dish as healthy as possible, roast it in the oven instead of frying it in oil.
- Pumpkin: Roast yourself a tray of pumpkin seeds to increase your daily intake of phosphorus. Then, enjoy some canned pumpkin for a helping of vitamin A, which helps prevent dry mouth and speeds up the healing process when you get mouth sores.
- Vegetables: When it comes to veggies, the more colorful, the better! Load up your plate with carrots and red bell peppers, which are high in vitamin C for healthy gums. Then, munch on broccoli and leafy greens, which have calcium for strong teeth. Make a side dish of Brussels sprouts to increase your vitamin K intake and help block substances that break down teeth and bones.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes: Why not take an extra big helping of mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving dinner? These starches contain potassium, which improves bone mineral density and works with magnesium to keep your blood at the right alkalinity so it doesn’t leach calcium from your teeth. Potatoes also contain vitamin C to support gum health.
- Dairy: The protein and calcium found in milk products fortify the surface of your teeth to help prevent cavities. Opt for low-fat, low-sugar dairy products on Thanksgiving, such as skim milk, Greek yogurt, and frozen yogurt.
- Sesame seeds and oil: Sesame has been shown to reduce the effects of plaque. In some cases, it can even reverse gingivitis! Sauté your vegetables in sesame oil and top any savory dish with toasted sesame seeds to enjoy these welcome benefits.
Avoid These Tooth-Staining & Cavity-Causing Foods
Here’s how to shape your dinner and dessert choices to avoid tooth stains and cavities:
- Sugar: Desserts are ever-present during the holidays, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Unfortunately, sugar is a favorite food for bacteria living in your mouth. If you’re the one cooking, swap out sugar for xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol derived from the fibrous parts of certain plants. It has the same sweetness level and volume as sugar, and it’s sold in granulated form, so you use it in everything from pumpkin pie to oatmeal cookies.
- Processed carbs: Cornbread, stuffing, and muffins are all examples of processed carbohydrates that feed the bacteria in your mouth the same way sugar does. Go ahead and eat small portions of your favorite items, but swish with water afterward to help clear the sticky carbs from your mouth.
- Acidic foods and drinks: Brightly colored, bitter-tasting items tend to have high acid content, which is known to stain enamel. Examples include cranberry sauce and juice, blueberry and cherry pie, red wine, and coffee. If you can’t help but indulge, lessen the impact with sips of water and tastes of other food. Then, because acid softens your enamel, you should wait at least 30 minutes after your last bite before brushing your teeth.
Keep Smiling with Regular Dentist Visits
Eating smile-friendly food is certainly a good start, but to maintain healthy teeth and gums over the long term, you also need to make regular trips to the dentist. If it’s been more than six months since your last visit, give Dr. Evanson a call at (720) 409-0008 or contact us online today. We’ll help you set an appointment at your earliest convenience to ensure you keep smiling throughout the entire holiday season.Leave a reply →