November 4, 2021
Laying on the couch during the holidays with family in town, eating decadent meals. It’s impossible to be healthy when November rolls around each year, right?
Wrong. It may not always be easy to make wise decisions with foods and beverages during Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, but it’s certainly possible. Keep reading to get some tips from your dentist in Owings Mills about how to have a healthy Thanksgiving.
Try to Eat at Certain Times
It can be healthier to eat small meals throughout the day, depending on who you ask, but that also requires more maintenance on your teeth. If you aren’t brushing after every snack session, you are constantly exposing your teeth and gums to plaque-producing substances. On turkey day, try to target 1-2 more instances where you will eat something in addition to the main meal in the afternoon or evening.
Be Cautious of Foods with Hard Textures or Sharp Edges
There’s no such thing as too much negative publicity for plaque, but sometimes a food item can be dangerous based simply on its potential to cut your mouth. Look out for the danger zone with hard candy, nuts, chips, and turkey bones just to name a few. Just be careful when biting and chewing so that your gums don’t get stabbed or something hard doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, dentures, or braces. You should always floss daily in the evening, but there is no rule saying you can’t add a flossing session or two when you get food particles lingering after a meal.
Pass on Sticky Foods When Possible
Marshmallows, candied pecans, and even lemon bars – depending on family preferences – can add deliciousness to the Thanksgiving menu, but while your taste buds are cheering, your enamel is cowering. These items are packed with sugar and leave your teeth with a sticky residue that is liable to linger and produce plaque buildup. The problem with plaque is that it is a gateway to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral undesirables.
Be Careful About Your Drink Selection
Many adults indulge in red wine on Thanksgiving, while apple juice may be all the rage at the kids’ table. Though tasty, drinks like these are high in acidity to elevate the risk for your enamel. Sugary or alcoholic drinks also cause dry mouth, which is an issue considering your saliva is normally hard at work to keep your teeth and gums clean. Try to drink water throughout the day to keep dry mouth at bay.
Keep Tabs on Your Sugar Intake
The problem with sugar, at least regarding your oral health, is when it lingers in your mouth. It feeds bacteria that produce harmful acids that hurt your enamel. Obviously, most desserts are going to be an issue in this regard, but don’t let cranberry sauce sneak under your radar either. Reducing your sugar intake or implementing brushing and flossing throughout the day are both doing your teeth major favors.
There are plenty of things to steal your attention during a major occasion like Thanksgiving but try to stay diligent about your oral health. Your teeth will be hoping you introduce them to some glasses of water throughout the day and visit the bathroom a few times for brushing in between enjoying all the delicious dishes!
About the Author
Dr. Monica Mattson earned her dental degree from Case Western Reserve University and she worked hard to provide dental services during her eight years in the Navy. She has been recognized by Pierre Fauchard Academy for trust, outstanding leadership, integrity, and interpersonal communicational skills. Dr. Mattson, licensed in Maryland and Florida, is a member of the American Dental Association. Considering she once repaired a boat motor with a nickel and a piece of bubble gum on a stranded Naval vessel, Dr. Mattson is probably able to safely navigate the perils of Thanksgiving cuisine for her teeth, even if it takes discipline at times. After the holidays are through, she can help you start the New Year off right with a dental cleaning and exam. Just visit her website or call (443) 394-2273.
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