Thanksgiving is all about food and family, but some classic Thanksgiving dishes are absolutely terrible for teeth.
Stuffing is a Thanksgiving classic that can really harm teeth. That’s because most stuffing recipes revolve around bread. Starches like bread provide cavity-causing bacteria the energy they need to chip away at tooth enamel. Additionally, starches can be very sticky and stay on teeth long after a meal has finished, and cause further damage. The high amount of starch sadly makes stuffing unhealthy for teeth. Combined with the fact that stuffing is full of carbohydrates and lacks dense nutritional value, and you begin running out of reasons to eat it.
Try getting your stuffing fix by making a tooth-healthy breadless stuffing that uses beans instead of bread as a base! Beans are full of protein and fiber, which makes it a much healthier replacement for bread in stuffing recipes.
A seasonal favorite that appears on tables between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fruitcake sounds like it would be a healthy treat, the word “fruit” is right in the name after all! Unfortunately, fruitcake is full of dried fruit, which can really damage teeth. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Dried fruit is also very sticky, and can stay on teeth longer after a meal in done. The sugar and the sticky consistency make fruitcake a no-no for healthy teeth. If you are looking for an alternative, you can make a fresh fruit crumble, which has much less sugar and isn’t nearly as sticky.
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple in many households, and seldom appears on dinner tables outside of turkey day. Despite its tart deliciousness, cranberry sauce is packed with sugar and offers little nutritional value at all. In fact, one of the most popular choices for cranberry sauce –canned cranberry sauce – has 121 grams of sugar per can, and no protein or fiber at all. All of that sugar provides nourishment and energy to bad oral bacteria that cause cavities.
As an alternative, try finding a recipe that calls for fresh cranberries, so that you can control the amount of sugar your family consumes this holiday season.
But, What about the Turkey?
Believe it or not, that Thanksgiving turkey is actually a dental super food! Turkey contains high amounts of phosphorous, which helps bones and teeth absorb calcium and vitamin D that makes them stronger and more resilient. Turkey is also high in B vitamins, which helps keep cavities away. People with inadequate vitamin B-12 are at a greater risk of contracting more cavities than those with normal level of vitamin B-12.
Be Sure to Brush
The best way to avoid cavities in any season is to maintain a healthy oral routine by brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flossing once daily. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and try to eat mouth healthy fruits and vegetables that clean teeth as they’re being chewed.