5 Tips for your Teeth this Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is almost here. No matter what your plans are this year, make sure those plans do not neglect your dental health. The holidays can wreak havoc on your teeth.

Protect yourself by following these five tips, as provided by your Maryville family dentists at Crestview Dental Care:

  1. Make your meals shorter: Every time you eat, a few food particles are left behind that can accumulate on your teeth and become fuel for cavity-causing bacteria that already exist in your mouth. When you eat a lengthy meal, or you snack throughout the day—two common behaviors on Thanksgiving—your teeth can incur more damage because they are exposed to more of the sugars, starches, and acids in foods and drinks that can lead to the formation of the plaque that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. We suggest eating your Thanksgiving feast and be done until the next meal. Avoid snacking between meals as this continues to bathe your teeth in sugars and acids that can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
  2. More water? Yes, please: Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any day of the year, water is the healthiest beverage you can drink. Water has zero calories, contains no sugar, and is non-acidic while also encouraging the production of saliva, one of the natural defense mechanisms of your mouth to scrub away food particles that may have accumulated on your teeth. Especially when you eat a big meal, drink water while you eat. Your mouth will thank you!
  3. Stay with your routine: To maintain your dental hygiene, each person should brush and floss their teeth daily. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice per day, but you may want to work in an extra brushing after the Thanksgiving feast, especially if your meal ends with sweets. This is easy enough if you are hosting the big meal, but whether you are heading across town or out of town to celebrate Turkey Day, bring along your toothbrush and floss. Then, after waiting at least 30 minutes after the meal concludes, duck into the bathroom to brush and floss. If you have to wait until bedtime to brush, pick up a pack of sugar-free gum and enjoy a piece after the meal. Chewing sugar-free gum assists the digestion process and increases your flow of saliva.
  4. Beware those sticky sides: We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but many of the dishes that are Thanksgiving traditions can be hazardous to your oral health. Cranberry relish is sweet and sticky, so the sugars in it are more likely to adhere to the surfaces of your teeth. Cranberries also are high in acid, which can do direct damage to your tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of your tooth structure. Stuffing, or any bread-based dish, is ridden with carbohydrates, which can stick to your teeth, and break down into sugars in the mouth. And, of course, there are plenty of sugary desserts to be had on most holiday tables. Please enjoy any of these dishes in moderation to avoid jeopardizing your dental health.
  5. Schedule a dental cleaning in Knoxville: the American Dental Association suggests that each person undergo a dental check-up once every six months. At Crestview Dental Care, we can perform a professional dental cleaning known clinically as a prophylaxis that removes plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth. To schedule one of these procedures or to learn anything else about the range of services we offer, contact our office at (865) 982-1700 to schedule a consultation.

Crestview Dental Care serves the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Knoxville and Maryville in Tennessee.