The holiday season is upon us and there are many delectable delights to choose from as we gather with family and friends. But what is the impact of our favorite holiday foods on your dental health? The good news is that its not all bad. In all cases, moderation is the best approach to holiday dining. But to put your mind at ease, here are the good, the bad, and the yummy “facts” about our favorites holiday foods.
Turkey falls into the good category because it is packed with protein and relatively low in fat. Also, turkey is an excellent source of protein and phosphorous, which are two key nutrients for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. And who doesn’t love Turkey at Thanksgiving?
The only bad characteristic of turkey is that it can sometimes get stuck between your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing regularly to avoid this problem. Urey is definitely a yummy part of the holiday so gobble it uu. After all, It isn’t Thanksgiving without turkey. And as mentioned above, who doesn’t love turkey at Thanksgiving?
Cranberry sauce is a tasty Thanksgiving tradition with many childhood memories of “Aunt Edena’s” favorite side dish, landing it firmly on the good category. Cranberries are certainly nutritious, and actually contain a compound that has been shown to reduce cavity formation.
Cranberries are naturally tart so sugar is usually added to recipes, which could be seen as bad for dental health. Also, possibly landing in the bad category, this side dish can be sticky, acidic and may temporarily stain your teeth. However, yummy they are so eat your cranberries as a side dish rather than alone to mitigate the sugar content, stickiness, tendency for the little berries to get stuck between your teeth and acidity. But save some for “Aunt Edena”.
Yams are rich in Vitamins A and C, which help keep your gums healthy. Good, right?
Candied yam recipes call for marshmallows and are clearly the best version of the holiday dish. However, sticky foods can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on your teeth longer than other types of food. Bad, right? But yummy none the less, so if your yams are candied, enjoy in moderation and drink plenty of water with your meal to help wash away any leftover food.
Green Bean Casserole
Green beans, mushroom, and onions are good and healthy addition to Thanksgiving , say some health experts. Once again, the bad thing is that Green Bean Casserole can be sticky and food particles may get stuck in your teeth. Dig in to this yummy dish since you should eat plenty of vegetable with every meal. Add onion wherever you can because anti-bacterial sulphur compounds help kill bacteria in your mouth, so enjoy every bite! But you may want to keep some dental floss handy.
Macaroni and Cheese
Most of the best recipes call for cheese and milk. The calcium from milk and cheese is good for strengthening teeth. The bad thing is that Cheese can be gooey and pastas are starchy so sugar can be left behind on your teeth. Once again, moderation makes the yummy side dish worth the wait. Eat a sensible portion and break out your tooth brush after your meal and don’t forget to floss later.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Potatoes loaded with vitamin C, B6 and potassium, are good for sure. Also, dairy products are good for your teeth, because they are low in sugar and acidity, and high in calcium.
Despite being a family favorite, mashed potatoes do not score high on the list of mouth-healthy Thanksgiving delights. Cavity-causing bacteria love the sugars that make up the starch in potato’s. Since you will probably help yourself to more than one serving of mashed potatoes, you have a good excuse for an extra helping of butter. Too much gravy and your in trouble, but enjoy this yummy holiday delight that comes around maybe once per year.
Pumpkin has Vitamin A, which is good for your gums and builds your teeth enamel. There’s the sugar in the pie itself and the mandatory whipped topping you put on will impact the sugar content. Treat yourself, in moderation. Eating yummy sweets shortly after meals helps keep saliva flowing to wash away leftover food. So enjoy a slice after dinner but probably not just before bed.