Thanksgiving is just around the corner! While this year’s festivities may look a little different than before, it’s still the season to honor family traditions, remember what we’re thankful for, and of course, eat lots of delicious food! While you count all the things you’re grateful for and enjoy your turkey dinner, don’t forget to appreciate your pearly whites! After all, your teeth help you eat all your favorite holiday meals, talk up a storm with family, and smile confidently during this special time of year. Here are five ways to appreciate your teeth and enjoy better holiday oral health in State College.
1.) Enjoy Smile-Friendly Holiday Foods
Maintaining healthy teeth isn’t just all about what you shouldn’t eat! Thanksgiving meals are traditionally full of foods that can boost your oral health, such as:
- Turkey: The main dish of most Thanksgiving dinners as well as other lean proteins are soft, low in sugar, and full of vitamin D, all of which encourage stronger teeth.
- Green bean casserole: Soft, cooked vegetables contain a garden variety of healthy nutrients and vitamins that promote healthier gums and reduced tooth decay!
- Macaroni and cheese: Low-fat and non-fat dairy products are brimming with calcium that supports stronger teeth and jawbone. Just don’t eat too much starchy pasta!
2.) Wash Down Your Meals with Water
As you enjoy your holiday meals and seasonal snacks, be sure to drink plenty of water. Not only will this keep you hydrated, but it will wash away lingering cavity-causing particles from the foods you eat.
3.) Watch Out for Sweets and Starches
Of course, there are several foods you should try to avoid or limit (especially this time of year) if you want to protect your pearly whites from tooth decay, such as:
- Sticky sweets: Candied yams, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, caramel corn, and pecan pie all leave sticky, sugary residue on your teeth that’s hard to clean off.
- Starchy sides: Mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and stuffing are full of starches, which feed bacteria that causes cavities just as quickly as sugar does.
4.) Save Snacking for Mealtimes
How often you eat is just as important as what you eat. While many families celebrate Thanksgiving with snacks, appetizers, and meals all day long, the more often you eat, the more you fuel cavities. Keep tooth decay at bay by saving your snacking for mealtimes.
5.) Pick Smart Sweets for Your Smile
If cutting out all sweets this holiday season sounds nearly impossible, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are several festive treats that are safe to indulge in (with moderation of course!), like:
- Pumpkin pie: This classic fall dessert if full of vitamin C and calcium, which are great for teeth!
- Soft cookies: Crunchy, tough cookies can weaken your teeth, so choose softer varieties instead.
- Smooth cheesecake: As long as you choose cheesecakes without hard nuts or sticky caramels, this soft treat can be a great choice for your smile.
With so many things to be thankful for and so many good foods to enjoy, there are plenty of reasons to smile this holiday season. Keep these tips from your State College dentist in mind to show your appreciation for your teeth this Thanksgiving!
About the Author
Dr. Donald Marks has been caring for the smiles of State College and the surrounding communities with compassionate, high-quality dentistry for over two decades. He encourages all his patients to come in for their dental checkups twice a year for long-lasting preventive care and to learn personalized tips for caring for their oral health at home. Whether you need a fluoride treatment, custom nightguard, or a thorough cleaning, he can help you keep your smile happy and healthy all year long. To learn more, he can be contacted via his website or at (814) 234-0329.