Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends come together to share a meal, enjoy each others’ company and catch up, and create memories that will last generations. While gratitude and family are the highest priorities, it’s easy to get excited thinking of all the delicious food to be enjoyed. However, as a Cary dentist, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share the worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth so you can be mindful of your dental health.
The Worst Thanksgiving Food for Dental Health
First, let’s look at the foods you should minimize or eat in moderation to protect your teeth.
Soda, Juice, and Sugary Beverages
While Coke, orange juice, or a mocha latte isn’t exactly traditional Thanksgiving fare, you’ll probably having something to sip with your meal. Sugary beverages bathe your teeth in sugar that feed bacteria which can break down your enamel and cause tooth decay. Fruit juice not only contains sugar, the high acid content can be damaging to your teeth, too. Instead of grabbing a soda, drink water with your meal. Not only will you avoid the extra sugar, drinking water keeps your mouth rinsed of food particles and debris.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole is a delicious side dish on your Thanksgiving table, but it’s one of the worst dishes for your dental health. Often topped with brown sugar topping, marshmallows, or candied nuts, these toppings stick to your teeth where the sugar can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. Plus, there is often a buttery, sugary sauce baked into the potatoes, making them even worse for your dental health.
While sweet potatoes naturally have starch that you can’t avoid, if you must have them at your table, you can make them healthier. Bake them or boil them like traditional mashed potatoes, then reduce the sugar by baking them without the crunchy, sticky toppings.
Similar to sweet potato casserole, pecan pie is one of the worst foods you can eat for your dental health because the nuts and sticky filling get caught in your teeth. This leads to the sugar in them continually feeding bacteria and causing damage to your tooth enamel. While no pie is beneficial to your teeth, pumpkin and apple tend to have lower sugar amounts and are less likely to get stuck between and within your teeth, making them a bit safer.
Rolls and Bread
Bread and rolls are simple carbohydrates, so when they are eaten, they break down into simple sugar. This process begins in your mouth where saliva begins breaking down the bread, creating a sticky substance. The leftover particles adhere to your teeth and having a similar effect as the food mentioned above.
How to Care for Your Teeth This Thanksgiving
We understand that you probably don’t want to give up your favorite foods this Thanksgiving. Fortunately, eating a slice of pecan pie or a roll is probably not going to lead to any significant damage, assuming you ensure you take proper care of your teeth.
That’s right, dental health doesn’t get holidays.
Make sure you are following these steps, even if you’re travelling and it’s easier to forget:
- Brushing twice per day;
- Flossing at least once per day;
- Rinsing your mouth with water after you drink a soda, alcoholic beverage, or eat a meal;
- Avoiding snacking that continually exposes your teeth to sugar and food particles;
Schedule a Checkup with Our Cary Dentist Today
We want you to have a safe, healthy holiday season, so make sure your teeth are in great condition to start by scheduling a checkup and cleaning today. We’re currently accepting new patients at both our locations. To schedule an appointment, call our Holly Springs dentist office at (919)-600-6262 and our Cary dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form below to get started.