If you're as concerned with your oral health as you should be, eating all the traditional Thanksgiving fare might give you a guilty conscience. The purpose of this article is to suggest a few tasty Thanksgiving foods that you can enjoy without the guilt.
First of All... What to Avoid
If you must celebrate the day with alcoholic beverages, be aware that they are typically loaded with carbs, so be sure to rinse your mouth frequently when drinking these (in moderation, of course).
What About Turkey?
There's no law that says you have to eat turkey on Thanksgiving. There are all sorts of alternatives, from tamales to barbeque. But for most people, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without eating a big bird. Fortunately, in terms of oral health, there's nothing particularly harmful about eating turkey. In fact, its abundance of protein can help strengthen teeth and bones. The main problem is that its meaty strands easily get stuck between your teeth, but as long as you remember to brush and floss after chowing down, there's no need to go on a guilt trip.
Served baked or roasted, sweet potatoes are packed with gum-healthy vitamins A and C. Just make sure you enjoy this dish in moderation, as the starch it contains breaks down into cavity-causing sugars. And please resist the temptation to top them with melted, sugary marshmallows, which are unhealthy for more than just your mouth.
Raw Veggies & Cheese
It's hard to go wrong with raw veggies. They're packed with nutrition, and crunching on them helps clean between the teeth. Cheese might be fattening, but contains strength-building calcium, and it goes great with the raw veggies!
Yes, you can treat yourself to pumpkin pie. The pumpkin is good for you because it's rich in gum-friendly vitamin A, which also helps strengthen tooth enamel. But you can ruin all the benefits if you make the pie filling with sugar, or add sugary whipped topping after it's baked. Fortunately, there are many sugar substitutes on the market. Just make sure to use one that's suitable for baking, such as sucralose.
As you can see from this brief survey, it's possible to have a Thanksgiving feast and a clear conscience too. All of us here at Atlantic Dental Partners wish you a happy, guilt-free Turkey Day, even if you don't have turkey. But if you do happen to have any post-holiday twinges of guilt, be sure to contact us. Dr. Gupta is here to provide compassion and resolution for all your oral health concerns!