Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to enjoy your favorite foods with your family and friends. Unfortunately, all the feasting can sometimes take a toll on your teeth. Too many sweets, in particular, can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy smile. Fortunately if you’d like to start the new year with great teeth and gums, there are a few simple steps that can help make it possible. From limiting how much pie you put on your plate to how frequently you floss, caring for your smile is simple with a few preventive dental tips.
What to Eat, What to Avoid
Just as your diet affects your overall health, what you eat affects your oral health, as well. To maintain strong teeth and healthy gums, you need to provide yourself with proper nutrition. This means loading up on fresh or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits, lean protein, dairy products and healthy fats. But it also means limiting unhealthy foods, such as sugar. Keep in mind that plaque bacteria feed on sugars and other simple starches, which is why too much candy is often associated with cavities. In reality, many foods are filled with added sugar. From bread to bacon, you might be surprised how many of the foods you enjoy are loaded with sugar. Read the label, to know for sure, and choose mostly foods with little or no added sugar. And when it comes to your Thanksgiving meal, load up on steamed green beans and make the marshmallow-coated sweet potatoes a small side dish, not your main course.
What you drink matters too, though, and many beverages are also filled with cavity-causing sugar. Instead of sugary juices or sodas, opt for water, milk or healthy green tea. And be sure to drink plenty of water, as well, especially if you’re partaking in alcohol or caffeine. Both can dry your mouth, which allows plaque to produce more rapidly. Keeping hydrated can help keep plaque at bay.
Don’t Neglect Dental Hygiene
Even after a long day, it’s important to brush and floss daily. This helps keep your teeth and gums free from food particles and bacteria, which can cause issues like tooth decay or gum disease. Regular checkups are also essential, though, to keeping your smile healthy. Every six months, be sure to schedule a preventive visit.