Thanksgiving is a time for chowing down! So when you sit down to carve that turkey, keep these tips in mind to ensure that Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t end up being damaging to your teeth…
* Eat a Balanced Meal – Eat a meal with a mix of carbohydrates and proteins, including lots of vegetables. This helps to counteract some of the acids produced when sugars and bacteria in the mouth come together. Also, some of the harder vegetables like raw carrots can act as a cleaning aid in your mouth as you chew (hard vegetables can remove some of the excess food that sticks to your teeth).
* Limit Your Sweet, Sticky Foods – Pies, cookies and cakes are yummy! But these foods tend to stick in the grooves of teeth and lodge in between teeth, meaning that they can stay in the mouth longer and increase tooth decay risk.
* Do Not Graze – This might be one of the most important oral health tips. Not only will you allow bad foods to stay in your mouth for longer periods of time by grazing, but you will also not give your saliva a chance to neutralize any acids produced. The acid levels in the saliva will remain high all day, allowing bacteria to destroy surface enamel without interference. It’s easy to spend all day just walking around a Thanksgiving party eating snacks and drinking. But remember – every time you put something into your mouth, bacteria produce potentially damaging acids. Spend some time NOT eating on Thanksgiving Day to cut down on the buildup of cavity-causing acids.
* Come Prepared – If you are traveling away from home for your Thanksgiving, bring a toothbrush with you even if you are just away for one day. If you are unable to brush your teeth after eating for any reason, make sure to rinse with lots of water to remove as much debris as possible, and also to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Remember to take some floss with you too!
Happy Thanksgiving from VDH. Enjoy a safe and happy start to the holidays!