Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday is a time to catch up with family members, consider all you have to be grateful for in your life, and eat an excellent feast of foods. However, this celebration is no time to slack on your dental care! Having to deal with a filling would really put a damper on the rest of the holiday season. To help you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, we’ve compiled these five tips:
Five Thanksgiving Dental Tips
1. Shorten Your Meal Time. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of a typical Thanksgiving meal is its length. Enjoying the company of friends and family for hours is an important part of the day, but try to avoid snacking or dragging the meal out too long. Continuing to expose your teeth to the acids in food makes it easier for cavity-causing bacteria to build up in your mouth. Instead of passing the time by munching, focus on sharing stories, watching movies, or playing games.
2. Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to drink lots of water, but especially when you’re eating lots of rich, sweet foods, staying hydrated can help wash away debris and prevent plaque formation. In addition to providing a light rinse for your mouth between bites, drinking water helps improve your saliva flow, which further fights cavities. Water is also an excellent replacement for more damaging drink options like juice or soda.
3. Brush and Floss. You need to be especially diligent about dental hygiene on Thanksgiving. Even if you go to a friend or family member’s home for the holiday, make sure you bring a toothbrush and floss. About thirty minutes after you’ve finished eating (so that your teeth have time to produce important protective minerals), quickly duck into the bathroom to brush and floss. If brushing your teeth proves difficult at another person’s house or you forget your toothbrush, at least floss. You can also bring xylitol gum to chew after the meal, which could help wipe away leftover food particles on your teeth, improve your saliva flow, and assist with your digestion.
4. Ditch the sticky sides. Cranberry relishes are a dentist’s worst nightmare; they’re acidic, sweet, and stick to your teeth for hours to come, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to infect your gums and eat through your enamel. Other sticky offenders are pecan pie and mashed potatoes. If one of these is your favorite, just make sure you swish with water after eating and brush your teeth to wipe away the gummy remains.
5. Make a Post-Holiday Cleaning Appointment. We all know the holiday season can be bad for your weight, but the desserts and long meals are also tough on your teeth. If you’re concerned about caries or gum disease, this winter might be the perfect time to schedule a cleaning appointment. One of our hygienists can scrub your teeth and Dr. Flanagan can check up on your mouth for any signs of disease. That way, you can prevent issues before they become more uncomfortable or costly. We can also perform cosmetic treatments to give you a brighter smile for holiday photos or celebrations.
Be Thankful For Your Dental Health
Having beautiful, healthy teeth is certainly something to be thankful for this holiday season. Keep them that way by using our Thanksgiving dental tips and coming in for regular check-ups. Contact Cindy Flanagan, D.D.S. to learn more about holiday hygiene or schedule an appointment.