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Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and loved ones to gather around the table for a big meal. It can also be a time that can be hazardous to your oral health. This is because a lot of the foods we consume during this time can cause damage to our overall health of our smiles. These yearly goodies can include stuffing, sugar filled treats like pies and cookies, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. These food items are all carbohydrate rich, sugary foods. These foods can really do damage to your oral health in a short period of time, but there are some simple ways you can help combat tooth decay and periodontal disease while still enjoying your family’s favorite recipes.

Thanksgiving Dental Health Tips

-Eat a Well Balanced Nutritious Meal. Eat a meal with an equal mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables. This will help to neutralize some of the acids that will be produced when sugars and bacteria in the mouth join together. Some of the harder vegetables (raw carrots) can act as a dental cleaning aid in your mouth as you chew and grind them. Hard vegetables can remove some of the excess food and plaque that sticks to your teeth. Cheese is great for our teeth because it contains an important item for our teeth and bones, calcium. Casein, a protein found in milk products, fortifies the surfaces of teeth, helping to prevent tooth decay. Nuts contain calcium and minerals that strengthen and re mineralize teeth.

-Sugar Limits!. These food items can include pies, cookies, and stuffing. These foods tend to stick in the grooves of teeth and lodge themselves between our teeth. This means they will stay in the mouth longer and increase our risk of tooth decay.

-No Grazing or Picking! This might be #1 of all the items listed here. Not only will you allow these bad food items to stay in your mouth longer but you will not allow your saliva to neutralize. The acidic levels in the saliva will remain all day, allowing bacteria to destroy surface enamel without interference.It’s easy to spend all day just walking around a party eating snacks and drinking, but every time you put something into your mouth, it creates acids. Spend some time NOT eating on Thanksgiving day to cut down on the buildup of cavity causing foods.

-Avoid Foods That Stain Your Teeth. Brightly colored foods and drinks are quite inviting when placed on the dinner table, but they have the ability to tarnish your pearly white smile. Be on the lookout for red wine, cranberry sauce, coffee and even white wine. Some pies (cherry and blueberry) may also leave staining on your teeth. Skip the wine and stain causing foods or if you will indulge, brush and floss after you eat your meal to limit damages.

-Come Prepared. If you are going away from home for your thanksgiving dinner bring a travel toothbrush with you even if you are just away for the day. If you are unable to brush your teeth immediately after eating…Rinse your mouth out with water to remove as much debris and neutralize the acid as much as possible. Also, bring some floss with you and floss following your meal.

-Choose Beverages wisely. Simple tap water contains fluoride which can help reverse damage to our enamel caused by acid build up in the mouth. Green and black tea kill bacteria and will help fight tooth decay and periodontal disease. Make the tea with tap water and you double your benefits for your smile.

Dental Health And Thanksgiving Conclusion

No one is trying to limit the fun of the holidays. These tips will just help you to survive the holidays with your dental health intact. See your dentist regularly for routine examinations and cleanings.



As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:

1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if  indulging in this holiday favorite.

2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.

3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well as general health.

4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.

5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.

6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!

Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays

Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.

Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.

Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.

Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!

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