Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This day of giving thanks is also known for being a day when we indulge in our favorite foods with our loved ones. Though tasty, certain foods can be harmful to our oral health. But don’t worry, having a more mouth-friendly Thanksgiving doesn’t
necessarily mean that you have to avoid that sweet potato pie. Here are 10 tips for a healthier (and safer) holiday.
1. Drink water. While it may be tempting to reach for that bubbling soda, swap the drink out for a glass of water. The sugar and acids in drinks such as soda and orange juice can damage your enamel and lead to the formation of plaque.
2.Remember to brush and floss. It is recommended that people brush twice a day and floss once daily. No matter how tired you are after all of the festivities, please try to set aside two minutes to give your teeth a proper cleaning.
3.Add a little crunch to your salad. Fresh vegetables and fruits such as apples, carrots, and celery can add a pleasant crunch to a salad. These foods also help clean your teeth as you chew.
4.Don’t chomp on those ice cubes. Some people enjoy being able to chew on ice cubes. Even though they may not seem incredibly hard, doing this can cause teeth to crack or chip.
5. Chew sugarless gum in between meals. When looking to freshen your breath in between meals, try chewing sugarless gum. It doesn’t contain the sweet stuff that bacteria prey on, and it helps stimulate saliva production.
6.Quit those bad habits “cold turkey.” This goes along with tip #4. WThe holidays can be a stressful time. When some people get stressed, they begin to grind their teeth or bite their nails – neither of which is good for teeth. Try not to practice these bad habits. To lower your stress level, ask family members to help with the meal preparation, setting the table, etc.
7.Save the sweets for dessert. Instead of snacking on foods high in sugar throuout the day, allow yourself to enjoy sweets at one specific time. This limits how much your teeth are exposed to the damaging effects of sugar.
8.If it’s “hard-as-a-rock,” don’t eat it. Use caution when eating hard foods like nuts and croutons. Like ice, trying to chew these items can cause damage to your teeth.
9.Avoid using your mouth as tool. Plan ahead so that you have scissors, a can opener, a bottle opener, and any other tools that you will need on hand when cooking. Using your mouth to open packages is dangerous and can cut your gums and/or damage your teeth.
10.Be careful when playing sports. No one wants a friendly game of backyard football to end in someone knocking out a tooth. Wear a mouthguard to protect yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And, as always…
…Take Care of Your Smile!