Thanksgiving is synonymous with good food. But food that tastes good is not always similarly good for your teeth. This, of course, does not mean that you should refrain from eating the things you love on Thanksgiving, but it does mean that you should be mindful of your actions and take appropriate counter-measures, such as proper brushing and flossing.

It’s not all gloom-and-doom, though. In fact, there are several Thanksgiving foods that offer oral health benefits. Even pumpkin pie has vitamin C, which is essential for healthy gums, and calcium, which is important for strong teeth. The sugar content in desserts can encourage bacterial growth on the teeth, however, making it important that you brush after consuming these sweet treats.

Vegetables are Supreme

Raw vegetables, such as carrots and celery, are excellent at removing plaque and bacteria from the teeth. Salads are a great way to slide raw vegetables into your feast as well. Even when cooked, vegetables are full of fiber, which helps keep teeth and gums clean and increases saliva production, which is important for bacteria removal. What’s more, the nutrients in these foods assist with both systemic and oral health.

Some starches stick to the teeth and encourage bacterial growth. This is not the case with potatoes and sweet potatoes, both of which offer several key nutrients that can assist with general health. As with many other vegetables, potatoes are rich in polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients which are essential for peak oral health.

Let’s Talk Turkey…and Veganism

A staple of Thanksgiving feasts, turkey is high in protein and rich in vitamins A and C. These can help protect gum health.

If you or your family are vegetarian, these same nutrients can be found in multiple fruits and vegetables. Legumes, which are a fantastic base for vegetarian main dishes, are high in calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, iron, and more, making them ideal for Thanksgiving dinner.

And remember, it’s absolutely okay to enjoy treats on Thanksgiving. Just practice both moderation and proper oral health techniques to help make sure your food choices don’t have a long-term impact on your oral health.

If you are looking for a family dentistry practice in the Glendale area, please call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule an appointment today. And from our family to yours, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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