I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If your family is anything like my family, your Thanksgiving spread probably required two additional tables just to hold all the food. I felt like I was eating all day – nibbling on food as I prepared it throughout the day, the main meal, dessert, and then leftovers for a snack a few hours later. If I hadn’t made sure to brush my teeth, I’m sure I would have a string of cavities by now.
Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is on its way – if you want healthy teeth, you’ll have to stay on your guard during those gargantuan meals! Here’s how several common holiday dishes can help or harm your teeth.
- Turkey: Turkey contains phosphorous which, along with calcium and vitamin D, helps construct and reinforce the bones, protecting your teeth and jaw bones from decay.
- Stuffing: Most stuffing contains celery, and celery is great for your teeth! Mushy breading can stick in crevices and attract bacteria, though, so make sure you rinse your mouth by drinking water.
- Mashed potatoes: Even the most basic mashed potato recipes contain milk products (butter, milk, and maybe even sour cream). Dairy has a lot of calcium, which helps strengthen bones – including teeth. Potatoes have a high starch content, though, so be sure to brush your teeth or those starches will lead to decay.
- [Insert vegetable] casserole: Vegetables are healthy for your body, but those green beans, corn or broccoli will not affect your teeth much. What could have an impact is the cheese on top or the dairy filling component – more calcium!
- Cranberry sauce: This tart berry has a double helping of dental benefits. The compounds in cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It also interrupts enzymes when they’re trying to form into plaque. Be careful to avoid the sugary versions of this tart berry.
- Pumpkin pie: This holiday favorite contains a lot of sugar. My recipe uses 3/4 of a cup. Plus whipped cream on top. And you can’t forget the Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream on the side. That’s right, I’m talking about a delicious cavity waiting to happen. Enjoy your pie, but be sure to drink a glass of water and brush your teeth shortly after dessert to prevent the sugars from sitting around and decaying your teeth.
You may still be recovering from your Thanksgiving feast, but the holiday season is in full swing, and with festivity comes food. Enjoy the special food this time of year, but keep your dental health in mind. Brush your teeth, floss daily and see your dentist for a checkup, and your teeth just might survive the season unscathed. Want to lighten up your next Thanksgiving meal? We’ve put together healthier recipes here. Some of these would work for Christmastime, too!