While it’s common knowledge that sodas, candy and sugary snacks throughout the work week can wreak havoc on your teeth—what about the holidays? Yes, we’re talking Thanksgiving—the time we take every year to gather round with family, watch football and wreck our teeth with caramel pumpkin pie, cranberry jelly, and Houston praline pie. It’s ok to admit it—we all give the old diet a kick to the curb every Thanksgiving.
Yes, no matter what intentions we have of a “lean” or Keto Thanksgiving—we normally succumb to the abundance of sticky starches, rich gravies and of course a variety of sinful, sugary pleasures from House of Pies that we waited 2 hours in line for. Not only can these pleasures affect your waistline, your cholesterol level, and have your kidneys calling the diabetes hotline on you—it can also impact your teeth.
The good news is that you can prevent some crucial damage to your teeth with a little bit of self-control, some pro-active dental care, and some smart choices that will keep you from getting a toothache by Christmas.
Four Ways To Avoid Wrecking Your Dental Health This Thanksgiving
Brush, Floss, Repeat
While this should already be a daily routine for you—flossing and brushing throughout this festive day will guarantee your teeth don’t get a buildup of yuck, plus your breath won’t reek of nana’s stuffing either. Sure, it smells good fresh out of the oven, but after bits of it sitting around in the nooks and crannies of your mouth for four hours—gross!
Flossing and brushing about 3 to 4 times on Thanksgiving helps get those little bits of food that linger so that you don’t cause tooth decay and tartar build up. Don’t wait too long after eating to brush either—try to get it in no more than 30 minutes after eating. Be sure to consume a lot of water and chew some Trident or other sugar-free gum to help get rid of lingering particles of dinner. If you are spending Thanksgiving out of town, don’t forget to pack your toothbrush and floss.
Dr. Hanna’s Tip: If you don’t have access to floss where you gather for Thanksgiving, ask for a toothpick and be careful with your gums. It may not be as thorough as flossing—but it’s still better than nothing.
Load Up On Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, And Lots Of Vegetables
Getting a bit anxious about your teeth and celebrating Thanksgiving? Take it from the best dentist in Houston—avoid the sweets and rolls. Stick with turkey, veggies and sweet potatoes (without the syrup and marshmallows of course!) You get plenty of phosphorous from the protein in turkey and when that’s mixed with calcium and vitamin D, it is a great combo for your bones! Sweet potatoes despite their decadent names are actually good for teeth to being good sources of vitamin A, B6, and C. Just make sure you cut out all the sweet gooey topping or you’re just counteracting the nutritional value with garbage.
Actually, in general—load up on vegetable sides such as snap peas, greens, salad (watch the salad dressing) and green beans. All of these vegetables are packed full of vitamins and better than any supplements. Keep in mind that even though these sides are great for you, they still have some naturally occurring sugar and leftover particles still need to be brushed and flossed away.
Avoid The Sugary Sticky Stuff
If you value your smile, avoid the sugary snacks and sides if you can. Sugar wreaks havoc on your teeth—especially cranberry sauce, as most is processed with tons of sugar. On the other hand, if you have cranberry sauce made with real cranberries and not some canned garbage—it can actually be beneficial. Fresh cranberries are much lower in sugars and the flavonoids found in fresh cranberries can actually rid your mouth of bacteria and help remove plaque from teeth. Just make sure you eat the fresh cranberry sauce with firm foods or crunchy foods so they can pull the sticky sauce away from your teeth.
Dr. Hanna’s Tip: If you just have to have the pecan pie (the worst offender of sugary sides) and the banana pudding make sure you wash your mouth out regularly with warm water and have the number of your local diabetes doctor in your contacts—sugar is not nice to your body and you might need that to. Diabetes and periodontal disease are very tightly connected—that’s no joke.
Plan Ahead—Schedule An Exam BEFORE Thanksgiving
Our final tip is pretty simple to accomplish: make it a point to visit your favorite dentist in Houston, Dr. Hanna for a pre-game check-up. You might have dental problems that you don’t even know about that could be aggravated by Thanksgiving binging (we mean food, not Netflix). Given most dentists are closed the Friday after Thanksgiving (including us) if you have a problem come up over Thanksgiving you are out of luck till the following week!
Plan ahead and book your appointment with Comprehensive Dental Group before Thanksgiving to make sure all is well with your teeth so your smile doesn’t suffer for a few sinful bites of pecan pie.
Don’t wait until there’s a problem with your oral health, let the team at Comprehensive Dental Group show you why the best dentist in Houston is Dr. Hanna and his team of professionals. We will have you ready for Thanksgiving and ready to protect your smile. Contact us today for your consultation!