Protect Your Teeth from the Thanksgiving Feast

Historically, the Thanksgiving holiday was meant to celebrate the abundant harvest of the year. In keeping with tradition, modern Thanksgiving dinners typically involve heaps of food and desserts, more so than would normally adorn the dinner table throughout the year. Unbeknownst to most of us, though, our tastebuds and bellies are not the only parts of our body that enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. Little microbes inside your mouth also feast heartily on the delicacies you consume, and can damage your oral health as a result. Luckily, however, there is hope for your teeth. Polk City dentist Dr. Ryan Hussong explains what parts of dinner your teeth can be thankful for, and how to minimize damage from the rest.

Edible Allies for Oral Health

Decades of various research has finally proven that “good tasting” does not always mean “bad for your health.” One of the most celebrated reasons behind this conclusion is the discovery that chocolate can actually help improve certain health issues, and the treat contains antioxidants that help fight bacterial buildup (which is the main reason behind tooth decay and gum disease formation). So if you’re torn about which dessert to try, go for the chocolate one.

Your main course and sides also contain hope for your dental health. Cheese, for instance, can bathe your teeth in calcium, which your enamel needs to remain strong against acidic and sugary attacks that can lead to tooth decay. Turkey, the staple of most Thanksgiving dinners, is a good source of phosphate, which is also essential to enamel strength.

The Dental Dangers of Indulgence

Folk wisdom tells us that steering clear of sugar is the best method for preventing cavities, alongside brushing and flossing your teeth every day. Limiting sugar intake is a good idea, but it will not effectively prevent tooth decay. Cavities form due to the acid that oral bacteria synthesize from sugar and carbs, as well as the acid that some foods naturally contain. To protect yourself from these acids, keep a glass of water close by to periodically rinse your mouth of food debris and bacterial plaque. Brushing and flossing your teeth before dinner will give you a head start on plaque control and increase your chances of preventing tooth decay. If you drink soda or juice, do so quickly and preferably through a straw. Both techniques will limit your teeth’s exposure to harmful sugar and acid, as well. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We serve families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.