13 Thanksgiving Dental Tips You’ll Thank Us For

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! As you sit around with your loved ones filling up on food and football, you don’t want to forget about your teeth. With all the busyness of the holidays, it can be easy to neglect your teeth. This is a mistake! Instead, look for ways to keep your teeth healthy while you are celebrating.

  1. Pack Your Toothbrush

If you are traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, make sure you pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. When traveling, keep your toothbrush in a ventilated container, such as a toothbrush holder. If it is kept in a plastic bag, there is not any ventilation, which makes it ripe for bacteria to grow. If you forget to pack it, make it a priority to head to the drug store and purchase a replacement.

If you are staying home but have guests coming to your home, it is a nice gesture to purchase some extra toothbrushes and mini tubes of toothpaste for the guest bathroom. You don’t want them to borrow your toothbrush or have to endure their stinky breath for the entire visit.

  1. Go Easy on the Desserts

The dessert table is a Thanksgiving tradition, but you don’t want to let yourself go crazy. Not only are the Thanksgiving sweets bad for your waistline, but they are also bad for your teeth. Sugary desserts (even those “healthy” treats like marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes) are not good for your teeth. Sugar in desserts can cause cavity-causing bacteria to grow. If you do choose to partake in a slice of pumpkin pie, make sure you follow it with a glass of water.

  1. Avoiding Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth

Holiday celebrations tend to include many foods and drinks that stain your teeth. If you don’t want your pearly whites to have a yellowish tint, avoid drinking coffee and red wine. You should also avoid Thanksgiving staples like cranberry sauce. Again, if you do choose to enjoy a helping of cranberry relish, follow with a drink of water.

  1. Watch Out for Acid

It isn’t just sugar that you want to be careful about over the Thanksgiving holidays. Acidic food and drinks can also harm your teeth. For example, the acid in carbonated beverages, wine, and juice can soften the enamel on your teeth, which will then leave your teeth at risk for cavities. If you do have a soft drink, follow it with water. In the case of acidic beverages, it is best to wait to brush your teeth for at least thirty minutes after consuming. If you brush too soon after consuming acidic food or drinks, you can hurt your teeth.

  1. Fill Up on Protein and Veggies

The good news is that the Thanksgiving turkey is safe for your teeth! So are the veggies. Fill your plate with healthy protein and vegetables.

  1. Say Yes to Cheese

Here’s even more good news – Thanksgiving is a great time to go heavy on the cheese platter or cheesy dishes. Cheese is great for your teeth. According to Mouth Health, the American Dental Association website explains, “Many recipes call for cheese and milk. The calcium from these ingredients helps strengthen teeth.”

  1. Drink Lots of Water

We could all drink more water to stay healthy. Not only is drinking water healthy for our bodies, but it is also great for our teeth. Throughout the holidays when you can’t escape to the restroom to brush your teeth, water is the next best thing. It can help clean your teeth and prevent dry mouth. Keep a water bottle with you.

  1. Say No to Starch

Sadly, foods with starch can be just as problematic as sugary desserts. This is because starch converts to sugar as it is breaking down, which means it is also a cavity-causing culprit. That means you may want to avoid the cornbread and mashed potatoes as they are passed around the table this year. Mouth Healthy explains, “Potatoes are starchy, and cavity-causing bacteria loves the sugar that makes up starch.”

  1. Eat at Mealtimes

According to USA Today, “Accounting for appetizers and desserts, the average American consumes a little over 3,000 calories and 150 grams of fat in a Thanksgiving meal […] And that’s without going back for seconds!” That is equal to 14 strawberry iced doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Yikes. Now, factor in that many people spend all day Thanksgiving eating rather than at set mealtimes. Not only are they consuming way too many calories, but their teeth never get a break from the sugary, starchy foods. Instead of grazing or snacking all day, aim to eat at set mealtimes so you can brush your teeth afterward.

  1. Floss Between Meals

Speaking of mealtimes, make sure you floss between meals. Some Thanksgiving favorites, such as turkey, can work their way in between our teeth. The best way to get the leftover turkey bits or nuts from between our teeth is by flossing.

  1. Don’t Use Your Teeth

Don’t let your impatience get the better of you or your teeth. Every year, Houston dentists have to treat people who have chipped or cracked teeth by using their teeth as a nut cracker or bottle opener. It is not worth the pain or the financial costs associated with repairs to get that bottle or nut open.

  1. Use Whitening Strips

If you want to freshen up your smile before you take family photos over Thanksgiving, use whitening strips. You can tell a difference with over the counter brands. If you really want to give your smile a boost, schedule an appointment with Greenspoint Dental in Houston for a one-hour Zoom! Whitening procedure.

  1. Schedule a Holiday Dental Appointment

With Christmas following Thanksgiving, it is a good idea to schedule a dental appointment between the two holidays. This can help your Houston dentist address any issues that may occur over Thanksgiving, as well as get your teeth looking their best before the Christmas holidays.