Traditionally, Thanksgiving is the time when we get our fill of a variety of dishes. No wonder, the very thought of Thanksgiving conjures up images of delicious dishes in our mind. While roast turkey tops the list of Thanksgiving goodies, there are several other delicacies that we consume during this period. But as we eagerly await the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, all thoughts of our teeth and their safety are tossed out the window! Let’s quickly take stock of the likely implications these foods have on our teeth and ways to offset those threats.
A staple on the Thanksgiving menu, roast turkey is consumed in great quantities during this season. In fact, production across America, is geared up for this season when consumption figures consistently hit an annual high. While it’s tasty no doubt, the problem with turkey is that it tends to get stuck between the teeth – leading to inconvenience and possible tooth decay without timely removal. Flossing is a good way to get rid of turkey particles that stubbornly stay stuck between your teeth.
An all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish, mashed potatoes dishes are rich in potassium—even more so than bananas—and vitamins B6 and C. On the flipside, potatoes contain lots of sugar on account of high starch content. Since it is an inviting proposition for sugar-loving bacteria in the mouth, dental cavities are a possibility. Brushing and flossing can take care of the situation.
Pumpkin pie is strong on vitamin A that contributes to healthy gums and strengthens tooth enamel. The only catch is the pie’s sugar component and the sweet toppings that can literally convert your mouth into a den of cavity-inducing bacteria. However, on the positive side, post-dinner munching on sweet dishes leads to greater production of saliva, which will in turn flush away leftover morsels of food in the oral cavity. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after having your fill of pumpkin pie.
Yams or sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins like A and C, which are good for the gums. However, the natural sugar content in yams make them a potential hazard for dental health. The threat increases manifold when they are combined with food items like marshmallows, to prepare candied yams, the threat factor further increases. Drink water in generous quantities during dinner and rinse your mouth thoroughly after the meal should help in controlling the adverse effects of this dish.
Invariably between Thanksgiving and right up to Christmas, fruitcake is on everybody’s lips! Don’t get carried away by the healthy connotations hinted by the ‘fruit’ in fruitcake. Rich in sugar due to the profusion of dry fruit that go into its preparation, the tough-textured fruit are also hard on tooth enamel, making fruit cake a double-edged sword for our teeth. So, make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly and brush twice a day, especially during Thanksgiving season.
Liberal doses of sugar or its substitutes are dumped to cover up the tangy taste that exemplifies cranberry sauce. Because of its acidic nature and tendency to stick to teeth, cranberry sauce can give you stained teeth apart from attacking the teeth surfaces. Rinse your teeth well, floss and brush your teeth to get rid of potential problems from excess consumption of cranberry sauce during the Thanksgiving season.
As you can see, a simple regimen of rinsing your teeth with water, followed by regular brushing and flossing – twice a day – can protect your teeth from the onslaught of acids brought about by heavy intake of sweet foods during Thanksgiving. Remember, you can have your cake and keep your teeth too!
Dr. Inna Trogan – DDS is experienced in cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, and general dentistry. An active member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, Dr. Trogan continuously stays up-to-date on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and advances in dentistry. She takes personal pride in providing courteous and high quality professional treatment for all of her patients’ dental care needs.
Our dentists have served the residents of Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, and all of our other surrounding communities for years. They can be reached by phone, 718.246.5677 or at their office in 100 Pineapple Walk, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201. You can also book an appointment online.