Thanksgiving may be associated with weight gain, but did you know that the holiday can actually be an opportunity to work on your oral health? As strange as this may sound, the Thanksgiving table may benefit your mouth! The trick, though, is to focus on healthy dishes and limiting your sugar intake.
The star of the meal, turkey, has an important role in keeping teeth strong with its protein, Vitamin B12, and phosphorus, an important mineral teeth need to stay healthy.
What about those cranberries?
It's a good thing cranberries play a big part in the meal since this berry is believed to be beneficial for killing plaque causing bacteria. Although the research shows cranberries may help prevent plaque, the sugar added to cranberry sauce can lead to tooth decay. So, don't be so quick to ditch the toothbrush and floss for a serving of cranberry sauce. If you're indulging in this delicious sauce, don't forget to clean your teeth well after the meal.
Whether the carrots are part of a crudité plate, in the salad, or being roasted, they are packed with vitamin A, an important nutrient for tooth enamel.
Although onions may cause bad breath, they are actually very healthy for your mouth. That's right! One of their many nutritional properties include killing oral bacteria. Raw onions do the most work, so if you are having a salad, try to add them. Cooked onions also provide benefits and can be added to a medley of roasted root vegetables. Mmm.
Whether it's steamed, sautéed or added to mac and cheese, broccoli is an extraordinarily healthy vegetable. Laden with vitamin c, broccoli helps prevent inflammation and keeps your gums healthy.
If you happen to be having some cheese at the table, you are in for an added nutritional benefit. Cheese not only provides calcium for strong, healthy teeth and bones (including your jaw), but it also may neutralize the effects of any acidic foods at the meal. Green beans also provide an excellent source of calcium. Of course, the milk in those delicious, creamy mashed potatoes acts as a source of calcium and vitamin D, a nutritional perk in your spoonful of spuds.
While candied yams are full of vitamin A, they're also packed with plenty of sugar with even more sugar added when you include that heaping layer of marshmallows. If you are planning to indulge in this side dish, make sure to take a small portion to prevent tooth decay.
Remember, even though these foods are great for your oral health, nothing substitutes brushing and flossing! Happy Turkey Day!