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Nov 24

Tips for a Tooth-Healthy Thanksgiving

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Cranberries contain flavonoids that support oral health!

Let’s be honest. A big part of Thanksgiving is… eating! Whether sneaking a bite in the kitchen, munching on hors doeuvres while waiting for the turkey, sitting down with family for the Thanksgiving feast, or chowing down on football snacks and watching replays– eating is a major Thanksgiving event.

The problem with so much eating, from an oral health point of view, is this: your treats and snacks aren’t only feeding you, they’re also feeding oral bacteria, like S mutans— a tricky microbe responsible for cavities. Lingering starches and sugars in the oral cavity give S mutans a Thanksgiving feast, which it ungratefully turns into acid. Acid, the byproduct of bacteria, is responsible for breaking down our tooth enamel.

Never fear: Arbor Dental Group is here!

While this news sounds worrying, we’ve got some simple suggestions on how to enjoy Thanksgiving and protect your smile.

Step one: skip the snacks

It’s tempting, but while you’re “tasting” all the new foods coming from the kitchen, what you’re really doing is keeping oral bacteria flush with fresh sugars to eat. This keeps your teeth bathed in acids that are eating away at your enamel. If you want to keep tabs on what you’re cooking, we suggest drinking water afterward to wash away food so you’re not feed bacteria too!

Step two: go carb-free

OK, that’s a little extreme. But you should know that sugary carbohydrates– like the sweet breads, cookies, muffins, and other delicious desserts that abound during holidays– are bacteria’s best friend. These foods stick to teeth in hard to reach places, providing food for S mutans long after you’ve enjoyed them.

The good news is that all starches aren’t created equal. Some, like sweet potatoes, yams, and mashed potatoes, don’t stick to your teeth in the same way that more refined starches do. So pile on those delicious root veggies for starchy satisfaction!

Step three: be choosy

Some foods support oral health better than others. When you’re loading up your plate, consider this:

  • Turkey is high in phosphorous, which rebuilds tooth enamel. Skip the ham– eat more turkey!
  • Greens– like salad, or stewed veggies– are a great source of vitamin A and C, two key nutrients in preventing gum disease.
  • Cranberries have flavonoids that prevent bacteria from forming dental plaque.
  • Wine also has antimicrobial properties. If you’re consuming alcohol, consider wine instead of beer.

Arbor Dental Group is thankful for health smiles

In just a few short days, most of us will gather with friends and family to celebrate everything we have to be thankful for. This year, include oral health in that time-honored Thanksgiving ritual, and support your smile while you celebrate!

Of all the things we have to be grateful for, great health is certainly one of the most important. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Arbor Dental Group– your dentist in Broomfield, Westminster, and Arvada, Colorado!

Photo Credit: Muffet via Compfight cc

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