The holiday season is in full swing, and the holidays have always been associated with a variety of food. Halloween brought with it an onslaught of sugary candy and pumpkin spice lattes, and Christmas will have its share of sweets like cookies, fudge, and candy canes. In the middle of these two holidays is the one which celebrates gratitude with a large family meal, Thanksgiving.

The typical Thanksgiving holiday meal consists of foods such as turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin pie. While these foods are delicious staples of the holiday season, most do not consider how their Thanksgiving Day meal affects the health of their teeth and gums.

The Effects of Thanksgiving on Your Teeth

The look, smell, and taste of your Thanksgiving feast are probably things you are able to sense even without the food in front of you. What you may not think about related to Thanksgiving is the effects your meal may have on your teeth and gums. Let’s break down your feast to see just how healthy (or not) Thanksgiving is for your oral hygiene.

  • Turkey: It’s a great idea to have turkey for Thanksgiving because it is good for maintaining strong teeth and a healthy smile. Its high protein level helps build muscle, and its phosphorus level combines with calcium and vitamin D for stronger bones and teeth.
  • Cranberry sauce: Cranberries themselves are a great way to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth because of the polyphenols in their makeup. However, cranberry sauce tends to have a lot of extra sugar which can negate the positive effects of the berries and cause cavities. Because they are acidic as well, they may stain your teeth.
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamins A and C for healthy gums, but candied or overly sugary sweet potatoes can have harmful effects.
  • Green bean casserole: Green beans (and other green vegetables) are good for your teeth, but the elements in the casserole can stick in your teeth. Be sure to floss after eating!
  • Starches: Staples such as mashed potatoes with gravy and macaroni and cheese have aspects which are good for you. Potatoes and gravy have Vitamin C, B6, and potassium, and macaroni and cheese contains lots of calcium to strengthen your teeth. Starchy foods, though, will break down in your mouth, form simple sugars, and leave a sugary paste on your teeth. This can increase decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.
  • Pumpkin pie: Pumpkin contains Vitamin A which helps to build enamel, but the added sugar in the pie has negative effects on your mouth.

It’s a good idea to substitute tea for coffee during dessert since coffee can stain your teeth and tea has similar properties as cranberries to reduce bacteria, but avoid adding sugar to the tea. Also, drinking milk after your dessert can have a protective effect for your teeth which can combat the sugar from pie and cake.

Contact Our Expert Brentwood, MO, Dentist Office

At Brentwood Family Dentistry, our professional dentists and staff are here to provide you and your family with the best possible dental care in Brentwood, MO. Dentists like ours have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help keep your smile healthy and shining bright. Contact our Brentwood, MO, dentists to schedule an appointment for preventative treatments and regular oral health maintenance.

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