Thanksgiving Tooth Care Tips
The holidays are a great time to get together with friends and family. And they’re also one of the best times to break your normal eating routine and enjoy the best dishes of the season. Thanksgiving is especially known for indulgent meals such as turkey and dressing, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, cakes, and pies. However, with all of the traditions that Thanksgiving presents, very few people take the time to think about what effect this particular holiday can have on their teeth.
While it’s great to enjoy yourself on days like this it’s still important that you consider how each food will affect your dental health. This way you’ll know which foods to eat in moderation or avoid altogether. You should also know how to take care of your teeth after they’ve been exposed to certain foods. Here are a few Thanksgiving tooth care tips that will get you through the season.
Skip the Punch
There’s nothing like a cold, sweet beverage while chatting away with friends and family. However, it’s important that you take the time to consider the ingredients of your Thanksgiving punch. In many cases, these drinks are loaded with sugar and acid. It may taste great but these combined ingredients can cause major damage.
You see, studies show that sugar and acid have the ability to eat away at your teeth’s outer layer. The problem is, once the enamel is completely eroded it won’t grow back. And that’s because enamel doesn’t contain living cells so it can’t heal itself. Beneath the enamel is yellow-colored dentin. This is what causes your teeth to look discolored. So stay away from the punch as it could contain soda and other added sugars.
Cut Yourself Off
Many people cook an abundance of food on Thanksgiving. In fact, there’s often so much food that there’s more than enough left over after the meal. And this means that it’s easy to spend your time eating all throughout the day. Unfortunately, this can have a huge effect on your teeth.
Not only is the amount of sugar that you eat a big factor but also the frequency with which you consume it. Why is this? Well, between each meal, your teeth need time to recover. The more often drinks and sweets are consumed, the higher the chances your teeth will decay because bacteria are sitting on your teeth for long periods of time. In fact, research suggests that those who suffer from binge eating often have tooth decay. So avoid grazing during this holiday.
Don’t Brush Right Away
If you do happen to eat or drink something that contains acid or sugar it can be tempting to brush immediately afterward. However, you should avoid this. Of course, you need to make sure that you brush and floss after every meal. This is especially true if you’ve just eaten something sweet and acidic. But you should wait for at least 20 to 30 minutes before doing so. Foods and drinks that contain sugar and acids weaken tooth enamel. If you brush immediately afterward, you’ll be brushing away tiny particles of enamel.
Help yourself to some cheese
If you really want to focus on tooth care during this holiday then try indulging in cheese. This is one of the few dishes that can actually be good for you. This is especially the case if you finish the meal off with a few slices. And that’s because cheese has the ability to reduce the levels of acid. So it works to protect your teeth.
Avoid Dark Beverages
Even if your drink doesn’t contain acid or sugar, if it’s dark then it can still cause damage. Dark beverages such as wine, tea, coffee, and cocoa can stain your teeth. Beverages like these contain a compound called tannins. This plant-based compound makes it easy for stains to cling to your teeth. So try to stick with beverages that are light in color. Water is usually the best choice.
Avoid the Candy
During the holidays there always seems to be an unlimited amount of candy at many family gatherings. This is especially the case when it comes to hard candies. The problem is that biting into these hard candies is an excellent way to break your teeth. By the next morning, you may be searching for someone who specializes in cosmetic dentistry. If you must eat candy, avoid the hard stuff.
A great alternative to sweets is sugar-free gum. Gum that contains sugar instead of alternative sweeteners has a tendency to react with the bad bacteria and cause tooth decay. Luckily, sugar-free gum won’t cause this issue.
Go for the Fruit
Another awesome alternative to sugar-free gum is fruit. If you have a sweet tooth but are in the market for something a little more healthy then fill up on things like grapes, strawberries, and apples. You may even combine these fruits to complement your cheese tray.
Tooth Care and Holiday Sports
Thanksgiving often involves a lot of sports such as football. If you participate in an annual play-off game with your friends and family, it’s important that you protect your teeth. Contact sports are known for being rough. So make sure that when playing you wear a mouth-guard. Your family dentist may even be able to create a custom piece just for you. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Eat Those Veggies
Not only should you eat fruit but you should also try the veggies. The best thing about vegetables like carrots and broccoli is that they contain Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to produce saliva. Saliva naturally cleans your teeth.
Thanksgiving can be an exciting time. However, it’s important that you think carefully when choosing which foods you put on your plate. Ultimately, it’s best to focus more on the event than the food. This way, not only will you be able to protect your teeth, but you’ll avoid those pesky holiday pounds.