With Thanksgiving now a week away, the holiday season is here and let’s face it, 2020 has not been the best year for many of us. “We just want to let loose and eat whatever we want,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care in North Central San Antonio.

“But without a doubt, more sugar ends up in our mouths this time of year because we are gravitating to food which is often not very healthy,” said Dr. Thomas. Let’s help you have a more tooth-friendly Thanksgiving, because if you don’t take care of your oral hygiene, there could be consequences. And the reality is – you can’t eat turkey without teeth! 

#1 Limit your sugar

Thanksgiving is sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, two holidays with a heavy reliance on satisfying your sweet tooth. “You jwant to make sure you get through all three holidays with all of your teeth,” said Dr. Thomas. All of the sugar baked in pies can serve up a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. If you are the person tasked with the cooking at your home, try swapping the sugar for substitutes that don’t lead to decay, such as natural fruits or honey. However, If you are eating those delightful desserts, make sure to follow up with drinking a glass of water.

#2 Avoid acid-washed teeth

Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. However that tarty treat can often do more harm to your teeth than it may to your waistline. Cranberry sauce is sticky and acidic, and may even stain those chompers. That’s why eating it with a meal and not by itself can help keep the acid off for an extended period of time. And just like with the sugar in the pies, wash it all down with a glass of water at the end of your meal. 

#3 Dazzle your dessert

Apple and pumpkin pies are staples of a Thanksgiving feast, but it never hurts to try something healthy and new. “Surprise your guests with a sweet dish that they may not find at their typical Thanksgiving meal,” said Dr. Thomas. Colgate.com suggests a dessert with fresh pear slices and honey yogurt dip. It sounds simple yet sophisticated. Just slice up your favorite variety of pear, arrange it on a platter, serve it with a dip of Greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon, and voila! Plus, pears neutralize the acid on the surface of teeth, and the calcium and phosphates in yogurt will strengthen your teeth. A win-win for the belly and the mouth!

#4 Pile on the veggies

We all know that vegetables are good for you, but they often get skipped over for some of the more unhealthy foods at a Thanksgiving meal. “But if you include the veggies with those unhealthy foods your guests may not even know they are eating healthier than they think,” said Dr. Thomas. Orange vegetables like pumpkins, carrots, and squash contain vitamin A which help form tooth enamel. Use real vegetables instead of getting your vegetables out of a can. Canned foods tend to have sugar added as an igredient. And don’t be afraid to cook onions into dishes where it warrants, because they help kill bacteria in your mouth that can harm your teeth and gums. 

#5 Tackle the turkey

The centerpiece of every Thanksgiving feast is the turkey. And for your teeth, turkey is a good thing because it is full of B vitamins and protein which are essential for your body functions. Another plus – because the turkey has no carbohydrates, there is no lasting sugar left on your teeth after consuming turkey. “Just make sure to floss after your meal to get every last bit of your food out from between teeth,” said Dr. Thomas.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday knowing that you’ll be filling yourselves up with food that isn’t just better for your belly, but also tops for your teeth. 

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