The holidays have arrived, and with them come tons of treats. The food ranges from turkey and ham, through the sweet potatoes and green bean casserole and onto pumpkin and pecan pies.
With Thanksgiving approaching next week, you must be busy with dinner preparations for the feast. But, are you prepared for the health risks the lavish celebrations would put on yours and your loved ones health? If this comes as a surprise to you, here is some information about the food items people are more likely to indulge into during Thanksgiving but should avoid them.
Dentists warn that Thanksgiving can be a bad time for teeth. During Thanksgiving feast, you get to enjoy a wide variety of food items, but some of them are unhealthy for your teeth and can negatively affect your overall health. You don’t have to wreak havoc on those pearly whites you have worked so hard to keep healthy.
Avoid the following 10 foods and your teeth — and your dentist — will thank you.
1. Sugary Foods. Foods high in sugar content such as candies may seem difficult at first to avoid in the Thanksgiving menu, but sugar is the number one enemy of teeth. Foods with added sugar produce acids that weaken the enamel and forms plaque over teeth which eventually lead to cavities.
Try substituting fruit or sugar-free fruit pies for the traditional pumpkin. Limit your intake of sugary foods and chew sugarless gum to increase saliva production.
2. Sticky Foods. Toffees, sugary gums, sticky dry fruits and anything made with corn syrup or molasses tend to stick to teeth. Such sticky foods leave particles hanging in between teeth for longer. Even brushing doesn’t always take the sticky residue away.
Opt for candy or gum that is not sticky or chewy. Try to avoid sticky foods in snacks and treats. If you can’t skip them altogether, limit the frequency of eating such foods. Follow up by brushing and flossing after eating any sticky food to entirely remove the residual particles from your mouth.
Recommended Reading: How Often Should You Floss Your Teeth a Day?
3. Ice. This may seem strange, but chewing on ice can damage the delicate enamel of teeth. Chewing ice is hard on your teeth and damages your enamel and may lead to a dental emergency.
Keep ice in the crushed form for cooling your drinks and avoid crunching on it.
4. Citrus Foods. The acid content in citrus foods, fruit juice, and red wine can erode tooth enamel leading to teeth decay.
Opt for gentler fruits such as apples and strawberries. If you can’t opt out of acidic foods and drinks, drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth. Eating sugarless gum can also help to neutralize the acidic build-up in the mouth.
5. Soda. Caffeine, sugar and, artificial flavorings all add up to chaos for your teeth. Carbonated beverages, sodas and soft drinks such as diet soda have high acid content. They lead to the formation of plaque and damage enamel. Caffeinated drinks can also cause dry mouth.
Consume soda and caffeinated drinks in moderation and opt for water whenever possible.
6. Crunchy Foods. Nuts, chips and other crunchy snacks, especially those with salt, can be especially abrasive to teeth. These can scratch tooth enamel and get stuck between teeth even after brushing. If you consume crunchy foods, brush and floss to remove all stuck particles.
7. Alcohol. The ingredients in alcohol not only damage teeth but also cause mouth sores, dry mouth, and dehydration. Excess alcohol consumption causes tooth decay, gum diseases as well as oral cancer. Limit your alcohol intake especially during holidays.
8. Sports Drinks/Energy Drinks. These are often full of sugar. Besides ruining teeth, they can play havoc with your digestive system, especially the energy drinks. Avoid these drinks when you haven’t done excessive physical workouts. Opt for water whenever possible.
Recommended Reading: Sports Drinks Can Seriously Damage Your Dental Health
9. Fatty Foods. The fats in food often cling to teeth long after they are brushed. This provides a perfect atmosphere for bacteria to grow. They also have a low nutritional value that leaves you susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Don’t fill yourself up with fatty foods during Thanksgiving. Balance your food with foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
10. Caffeine. In moderation, caffeinated drinks like coffees and teas aren’t too bad, but if you add cream and sugar to your drink, you are adding the chance of the sugars staying on your teeth and causing erosion. Caffeine can also cause dry mouth and stain teeth.
Try to avoid the add-ons of sugar and cream in your coffee and drink plenty of water after the consumption. Replace your regular caffeinated drinks with green or black tea that help suppress production of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
If you consume any of these foods during Thanksgiving, follow these good oral habits to keep your mouth healthy:
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water
- Brush teeth with fluoridated toothpaste
- Follow-up with flossing
- Incorporate vegetables and fruits high in fiber in your diet
- Include rich source of calcium and phosphates– cheese, yogurt and, dairy products in the snacks and treats
- Get regular dental checkup for professional fluoride treatments
Recommended Reading: 7 Dental Tips For Thanksgiving
Follow these tips and avoid unhealthy foods from your Thanksgiving menu to celebrate a healthy and happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving! At Plaza Dental Group, we strive to bring the best information for your oral health concerns and make your smile an everlasting one. Contact us to know more about our dental services & procedures or give us a call at 515.612.7148.
Dr. Steffany Mohan is the Owner of Plaza Dental Group and is a leading dentist in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Mohan is an expert in implant, family and cosmetic dentistry, is Invisalign certified and has gained a reputation of excellence in the dentistry community.