The holiday season is approaching and while you’re probably worrying about counting calories, there’s another reason to focus on healthy eating for Thanksgiving Dinner – your oral health. There are plenty of healthy options and methods of preparing your favorite dishes that the office of Dr. Stephen Coates DDS recommends to help maintain your oral health.

Foods to Avoid

Many Thanksgiving favorites are likely to cause cavities including the delicious pies, cranberry sauce from the can, dinner rolls, and candied yams. These foods are high in sugars and starches that encourage bacterial growth in the mouth. They also aid plaque in attaching to your teeth.

Oral Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner Choices

So, we’ve covered the things you should avoid, but all is not lost. There are smarter choices to enjoy that are very tasty.

  • Use spices in your apple pie and leave out most of the sugar. After all, the fruit has its own natural sugars that will offer the sweetness you’re looking for.
  • Leave the bread alone and sub in a vegetable tray.
  • Let the yams offer all the natural sweetness, don’t top them with marshmallows.
  • Instead of the green bean casserole and canned veggies, opt for delicious fresh-cut green beans sauteed in olive oil.
  • Add some fresh carrots and celery. They contain beta carotene, offering Vitamin A. When you enjoy them uncooked, they work to scrub the plaque from your teeth as you enjoy them.
  • Eat the turkey! It contains phosphorous that aids in tooth development.
  • Skip the pecan pie and serve pumpkin pie. It is high in the Vitamin C needed to maintain healthy gums and build enamel.
  • Load up on vegetables. You can make your Thanksgiving dinner table interesting with greens, green beans, squash, asparagus, and other winter veggies. They offer loads of Vitamin A and C.
  • Let the cranberries do their job. Fresh cranberries reduce bacterial damage by disrupting the glucan forming and sticking process. When you purchased canned cranberries, you’re getting more sugar and less of the health benefits.

Oral Hygiene Tips for All Year

Sugar promotes the harmful bacteria that cause cavities. The acid created by the bacteria wears away the enamel of the tooth encouraging cavity development. These tips to ward off cavities are great for the entire year, but we usually need the reminder when we’re gathering with friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Load up on the water. Have a glass with you as you sit down at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Drink it after your meal and between snacks.
  • Brush and floss your teeth throughout the day after meals and snacks.
  • Schedule a visit with your dentist before the holidays to catch any existing dental issues that may flare up during your Thanksgiving holiday.

With a little planning, your Thanksgiving dinner can be healthy to your teeth and tasty at the same time. This year, Dr. Stephen Coates DDS and the entire Long Beach dental staff are thankful for our wonderful patients. We work all year round to provide personalized and comfortable high-quality dental care. To learn more about maintaining your dental health during the holidays, give us a call at (562) 434-6414 or visit our website.