Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with those delicious meals comes the effect that they have on your teeth, mouth, and overall oral health. Thanksgiving is more than just that time when you’re grateful you survived the great shopping stampedes of Black Friday, where your fridge is stuffed with leftover turkey much like your turkey was stuffed with stuffing, and you’re wondering how many weeks it will be before you finish burning all those calories you ate.
Before you let the guilt of those third helpings of mashed potatoes get to you, we have some good news – while there are some foods that are bad for your teeth, many foods you will probably eat over the holidays actually promote dental health! As you consider what you’re eating in the following months, you can enjoy some of your leftovers guilt free and avoid having to bookend your holiday season with dental work.
Proteins Help Teeth & Bones
Starting with the main leftover event itself, that leftover turkey is actually chock full of essential nutrients that help your teeth. Along with beef, chicken, and eggs, turkey is rich in phosphorus, a key component along with vitamin D and calcium in the formation of teeth and bones.
Dairy Products Fight Tooth Decay
Milk and yogurt are great for your dental and oral health. They’re low in acidity, contain low sugar, and are high in calcium. Dairy can help help fight tooth decay and also fortify your bones.
Cheese Can Rebuild Tooth Enamel
Cheeses are high in phosphate and calcium and also can help balance the pH in your mouth, kill cavity and gum disease-causing bacteria. Cheeses also aid in the rebuilding of enamel and encourages saliva production. Sounds like cheeses are pretty gouda for you, after all!
Sweet Potatoes Helps Enamel & Gum Tissue
A Thanksgiving staple, sweet potatoes contain plenty of Vitamin A, a key ingredient for tooth enamel. Sweet potatoes also aid in promoting healthy gums, providing essential nutrients used in the healing of gum tissue. Savor these sweet holiday treats knowing they’re aiding your oral health – what a sweet deal!
Pumpkin Contains Vitamin A
While it’s a mystery just how much real pumpkin there is in “pumpkin spice,” there is no mystery about the benefits of pumpkins for the health of your teeth and mouth. Real pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A. This totally justifies that fourth slice of pumpkin pie. (It’s for your health!)
Sesame Seeds Help Dissolve Plaque
Best when eaten in breads or rolls, sesame seeds work to help dissolve plaque while preserving the bone around the teeth and gums. They’re also rich in calcium. Sesame seeds have the added benefit of being naturally abrasive, helping to massage your gums and clean between your teeth.
Celery is Good for Your Gums
Celery are great for teeth in two major ways. They, along with other crunchy vegetables and fruits, work as naturally abrasive foodstuffs to help keep your gums healthy. They also are made up of mostly water, which, as you’ll see below, is also good for your dental health.
Water is Key for Oral Health
It’s the “food” we all probably don’t drink enough of. Water is great in flushing away residue or stuck food particles, hydrates your gums, and stimulates saliva, your first line of defense against bacteria. Staying hydrated can contribute quite a bit to your oral health.
Green Tea Helps Fight Gum Disease
Green tea has a strong reputation as a healthy drink, and for good reason. Green tea contains catechins, which kill plaque-forming bacteria and also helps prevent gum disease and cavities. These natural antioxidant compounds also neutralize the bacteria that cause bad breath, leaving you refreshed.
Onions Eliminate Oral Bacteria
Onions have powerful anti-bacterial sulfur compounds. These compounds kill bacteria that would harm your teeth, and are most potent in raw onions. Cooking actually reduces the strength of the compounds, but also reduce the taste if you find raw onions to be a bit too strong in flavor.
From all of us here at Paramount Dental to you, we hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, and that you have a lovely holiday season filled with family, loved ones, and delicious and healthy foods!