Healthy Thanksgiving Feast: Tips for a Tooth-Friendly Holiday Meal

Enjoy a tooth-friendly Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that significantly revolves around having as much food as possible. Though many of these meals are undoubtedly delicious, they may not be so nutritious.

Of course, you can’t control the food your relatives bring to the feast, but you can call the shots on how you care for your teeth after enjoying these delectable treats. Your oral health is always crucial for cavity prevention during any holiday, so you must remember how food can impact your teeth, especially around Thanksgiving time.

Thankfully, preparing some tooth-friendly holiday meals can be easier than you think, and they’ll still make for a satisfying holiday feast that is less likely to lead to tooth decay.

The Impact of Thanksgiving Foods on Oral Health

Mulled ciders, caramel apples, and candied yams are staples of the Thanksgiving holiday that are easy to get excited about, but many of these family favorites can contribute to tooth decay and other dental issues.

These beverages and foods contain plenty of sugar and acids that feed bacteria, allowing them to thrive in your mouth, and they also create acids that attack your teeth and break down the enamel, resulting in tooth decay. In addition, sticky foods, like caramel and marshmallows, stick to your teeth, and as sugar lingers on the surface, it begins wreaking havoc on your enamel as well.

That’s not to say you can’t have any of these treats at all, of course, but enjoying them in moderation will go a long way toward protecting your teeth.

Tooth-Friendly Thanksgiving Dishes and Side-Dishes

You can make your Thanksgiving feast scrumptious without sacrificing your teeth’s integrity. Consider the following tooth-friendly holiday meals at your next holiday celebration; many are good for your overall health too!

Recommendations for Main Course

You don’t have to find a substitute for turkey. It’s a main course that is as synonymous with Thanksgiving as pumpkin pie, and even outside its iconic status, turkey is high in protein and phosphorus, which strengthens bones and teeth. It also helps mineralize your teeth to protect against cavities. With that said, try out this Herb-Roasted Turkey recipe from Dinner at the Zoo for a new take on the ultimate Thanksgiving classic.

If you need a vegetarian option, or if you want to spruce up your turkey with some color, try making this Grilled Veggie Platter from SkinnyTaste. Featuring classic vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini makes for a more nutritious meal that also supports dental health; crunchy carrots, in particular, can act like a toothbrush and massage your gums. They also contain the plaque-attacking duo of keratin and vitamin A, which help strengthen your tooth enamel.

Recommendations for Side Dishes

Sometimes, side dishes can end up as the stars of the Thanksgiving show, and these Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes from Taste And See are no exception. They’re a healthier alternative to traditional mashed potatoes with less starch, which eventually turns into sugar that feeds bacteria and produces cavity-causing acids.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a certain cranberry addition, but instead of the traditional sauce, try a Cranberry Relish with fresh berries. Without the added sugars, you’ll minimize the tooth-damaging effects of traditional cranberry sauce.

Lastly, going back to crunchy veggies, some roasted Brussels sprouts make for an excellent side dish. They contain calcium and vitamin C that are sure to make your teeth strong and resistant to staining.

Recommendations for Desserts

Sweets after a meal aren’t always a bad thing for your teeth, as many desserts can stimulate the flow of saliva and help wash away any lingering food particles.

Still, it’s best to skip traditional treats, like apple pie, given their significant sugar levels. Instead, swap them out with a bit of a twist, like baked apples topped with cinnamon. They’ll make your mouth water and also provide plenty of vitamins and antioxidants.

Alternatively, something like a fruit salad with yogurt can make for a refreshing, light, and tooth-friendly dessert option.

Beverage Choices for Dental Health

The best beverage to promote good dental health will always be water, as it doesn’t contain sugars or acids that are harmful to your teeth. Sodas and alcohol are detrimental to your enamel, and though they’re safe in moderation, always rinse your mouth with water after finishing to remove the acid and sugar from your mouth and prevent adverse effects.

After-Meal Oral Hygiene Tips

It seems like many standard rules are meant to be broken during the holidays, but one you should never bend is sticking to your oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing are crucial after indulging in a sweet and savory Thanksgiving feast.

Brush twice and floss at least once daily to maintain fresh breath and good oral hygiene. Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol if you cannot brush following your meal, as it promotes saliva production.

Schedule a checkup with our friendly dentist near Boise, ID.

We want you to enjoy your holiday to the fullest, but it’s important not to lose sight of maintaining your oral health. Keep your teeth in excellent condition by scheduling a dentist appointment with your family dentist in Boise, ID: Staley Dental. Get your checkup on the books before your next holiday feast!