Thanksgiving is fast approaching – which means delicious food, drinks, and desserts are on the horizon. While this holiday is notoriously known for expanding our waistlines and being a step backward in our health – it doesn’t have to be. You and your children can enjoy the holiday while still thinking about your overall health and the health of your teeth. Here are some tips our team at Columbia Orthodontics loves to share with patients every year during the holidays.
Thanksgiving Foods for Healthy Teeth
Turkey, potatoes, and pie – oh my! Don’t worry, we aren’t encouraging you to skip the festivities altogether. You will still be able to indulge and enjoy the day with these teeth-friendly foods:
- Vegetables. Opting to snack on a veggie tray throughout the day is a much better health choice than grabbing an extra slice of pie. Sugar causes cavities – which can lead to tooth decay. You can avoid the excess sugar by snagging a carrot or celery stick.
- Pie. Yes, we said it. You can enjoy your pie. The trick to keeping your teeth healthy during Thanksgiving isn’t skipping your favorite foods entirely – but eating in moderation. Opt for one piece of pie and an extra glass of water (to help you feel full). Follow your main meal by brushing your teeth so the sugar you consume doesn’t have a chance to ruin your teeth.
- Water. This sounds boring – but during the holidays, you can grab sparkling water like Waterloo, Spindrift, or La Croix. Pour it into a fancy glass, garnish with a few cranberries, and you have a festive, healthy, and yummy beverage to enjoy. Drinking extra water helps keep your mouth hydrated which promotes a healthy mouth, it also washes away bacteria and keeps your teeth healthy.
- Tradition. Most traditional Thanksgiving foods are actually really good for your health. Things like sweet potatoes, cheese trays, cranberries, and green beans, all do help boost the vitamins in your system that strengthen your teeth. Just try to avoid topping all these health foods with excess sugar (like marshmallows on the sweet potatoes) and seek to enjoy them as they are!
Braces and Thanksgiving
As your orthodontist, we cringe when people bring up some traditional Thanksgiving foods. Caramels or other sticky desserts (like marshmallows) can break or damage wires – causing discomfort. We recommend avoiding these types of foods in addition to hard candies (we’re looking at you leftover Halloween treats) if you are wearing braces.
If you’re wearing Invisalign, be sure to remove your aligners to eat! That is one major benefit of these clear aligners is the ability to eat freely without damaging or breaking your braces. Just be sure to brush/floss after eating, drink plenty of water, and replace your aligners as soon as you are finished.
Schedule a Check-Up Before Christmas
We encourage all of our patients, both young and old, to schedule a cleaning before the holidays to help give your teeth a fresh start as we go into the sugary season. Not only do we remind everyone of the importance of brushing and flossing, but a good dental exam and cleaning prior to Christmas might help you start the new year off right and jump-start your New Year’s health goals. If you do happen to have an orthodontic emergency, be sure to contact our office right away. Happy Thanksgiving!