Thanksgiving Day is known for its cozy gatherings, family traditions, and delicious feasts! Although many of us look forward to roasted turkey, breaded stuffing, and sweet potatoes, it’s easy to forget how these favorite family recipes affect our teeth and gums.
Practicing good oral hygiene, especially during the holidays, helps you avoid dental issues in the new year. Here are some easy-to-follow Thanksgiving dental tips to keep your smile shining bright.
Our Top Five Holiday Dental Tips
1. Keep Floss Handy
Of all of our Thanksgiving dental tips, this might be the most important! Thanksgiving feasts can be an all-day event, from yummy appetizers and the main course to desserts and even late-night leftovers. To protect your teeth from food getting stuck in between, floss each time after you eat to remove plaque buildup.
Pro-tip: Make it a family activity by handing out floss to everyone between meals.
2. Be Mindful of Sticky Sweets
Pumpkin, apple, and mouth-watering pecan pie—sadly, these classic holiday dishes are terrible for your teeth. Avoiding or limiting sticky, sugary sweets will prevent harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.
If you do indulge in a bit of sweets, rinse your mouth with water afterward to remove sugar and prevent it from sticking to your teeth and gums!
3. Fill Up on Protein & Vegetables
We all love comfort food, but starchy side dishes, such as stuffing or dinner rolls, can harm oral health. Like sugar, starch sticks to your teeth and helps feed acid-producing, cavity-causing bacteria. Instead of loading up on mom’s famous mashed potatoes, fill your plate with turkey and vegetables, and think about cutting back on the gravy.
|Did you know: Sweet potatoes offer the benefits of vitamins A, C, and B6. These three vitamins are notorious for strengthening teeth, reducing inflammation, and protecting gums. This year, try making sweet potatoes without the marshmallow topping! That way, you get the benefits of sweet potatoes without the added sugar.|
4. Grab an Extra Scoop of Cranberries
After you add sweet potatoes to your plate, don’t forget about cranberries. These traditional little berries can help delay tooth decay because they contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to help ward off harmful bacteria that can cause cavities.
“In oral diseases like caries and periodontitis, cranberries have shown therapeutic potential owing to their anti-adhesive and other anti-microbial properties.” (National Library of Medicine)
But be careful how the cranberries are served. Many cranberry sauce recipes can be high in sugar, which you already know is harmful to teeth!
5. Limit Wine at Dinner
Wine’s acidity can not only stain teeth, but it can also weaken your tooth’s enamel. Enamel plays a vital role in protecting our teeth from decay, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good! Therefore, we want to protect it by limiting (or avoiding) highly-acidic foods and beverages. Plus, nobody wants to be in the family photo with stained red Thanksgiving teeth.
If you’re curious about how alcohol affects your teeth, read our blog “Is Drinking Alcohol Good for Your Teeth?”
BONUS: Don’t Skip Your Teeth Cleanings
We know the holidays can get hectic, but that’s no reason to skip your upcoming teeth cleaning appointment. Spending a bit of time in our dental chair can do wonders for protecting and preserving your oral health. Before our schedule gets booked up for the holidays, go ahead and schedule your next appointment.
Carve Out Time to Take Care of Yourself
Hopefully, our Thanksgiving dental tips will keep you thinking about your teeth during this festive time! If you cannot schedule an appointment before the holidays, come see us when everything quiets down. Starting the New Year with clean teeth will help support a fresh start to the year. (Plus, our teeth whitening services can help reverse the effects of the holidays and get your smile sparkling.)
At Dakota Dental, we love educating our patients on the importance of good oral hygiene and helping them achieve a beautiful smile. We’re open and ready to help you during the following times:
Mondays: 7 am – 5 pm
Tuesdays: 7 am – 5 pm
Wednesdays: 7 am – 5 pm
Thursdays: 7 am – 4 pm
Fridays: 7 am – 4 pm
Request an appointment online or give us a call at (952) 431-5774. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, we cannot wait to see you!