If you’re like most of the country, in just a few weeks you’re going to be enjoying all kinds of good food with those closest to you. The staff at South Florida Dental hopes that you absolutely enjoy your Christmas dinner, but also wants to help you maintain good dental hygiene in the midst of all that eating.
To that end, below you’ll find a list of tips to keep your big meal from contributing to cavities and other oral health issues.
Five Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving without Risking Your Dental Health
Keep Some Water Handy. What do you have to drink with your meal? A glass of wine? A soda? Consider pairing it with a big glass of water throughout your meal.
Water has a long list of health benefits, but when it comes to your teeth, it can help to increase saliva – a key part of preventing and fighting cavities. Soda and sugary drinks will have the opposite effect, and should be avoided if possible.
Freshen Up For a Fresh Smile. Do your post-meal plans may include football? Or perhaps a big nap? But before you put your feet up, make sure you head to bathroom with your toothbrush. You should always try to brush your teeth after eating, but this is especially important after big meals like Thanksgiving dinner. Brushing helps you remove lingering food and bacteria from your teeth and mouth.
If you don’t have your toothbrush handy, a quick rinse with water is still better than nothing. Want to freshen your breath? Gum is okay as long as you choose one that is sugarless. In fact, chewing a piece of gum after your meal can actually help to move around food that may be stuck in your teeth.
Balance out Your Diet. Delicious desserts and sugary fruits are especially unhealthy for your teeth when eaten in large quantities. But by no means are we asking you to pass on the cranberry sauce or skip your aunt’s prized desserts – just think about how you can balance your diet and give your teeth a break before and after Thanksgiving Day. Recommended foods for protecting teeth enamel and balancing out sugary foods include:
- Chicken and other meat
Skip Certain Foods If You Recently Had Work Done. There are some foods you should skip if you’ve had certain dental procedures recently.
For example, if you have fillings, onlays, or overlays done in the 48 hours or so right before Thanksgiving, it may be wise to avoid sticky or hard foods. Your teeth may also be extra sensitive to hot and cold foods after a filling, so be cautious when taking your first bite of dinner.
The timeline is a bit longer for dental implants. A soft diet is recommended for at least a week after getting implants. If your implants are only on one side of your mouth, be aware of your chewing and try to chew on the other side to give your implants a break during your big meal.
Make a Post-Thanksgiving Appointment. Have you seen a dentist since last Thanksgiving? If not, it’s well past time to make an appointment. We recommend that everyone see a dentist at least once or twice a year.
Even if your teeth feel and look great, dentists can do a quick check for any signs of cavities, gum disease, or anything else that could eventually have a big effect on your health.