5 tips for a smile-friendly Thanksgiving

As you enjoy dinner this Thanksgiving, keep your teeth and gums healthy with smart food choices.

  1. Skip the sugar

    Whether it’s pumpkin pie or a marshmallow-topped yam casserole, Thanksgiving dinner can be a delight for your sweet tooth. But all that sugar also serves up a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. If you’re cooking, consider swapping sugar for substitutes like xylitol or erythritol. These sweeteners don’t cause decay. If you’re eating, limit your dessert portion and follow it with a glass of water.
  2. Cut down on starches

    Savory foods aren’t as well-known for causing decay, but the starch in sides like cornbread and stuffing can feed the same acid-producing bacteria as sugar. Mix up your plate to balance the starch with protein and fiber.
  3. Avoid enamel stains

    Brightly colored foods and drinks look great on the dinner table, but they can leave your enamel looking dull. Watch out for red wine, cranberry sauce, coffee and even white wine. Some pies, like cherry and blueberry, also pose a risk. Skip the wine and stain-causing foods – or book a cleaning with your dentist, afterward.
  4. Guard against acid wear

    Acid and enamel don’t mix. The acid in wine and cranberry juice can soften your enamel, leaving it more vulnerable to decay. Avoid acidic foods and drinks whenever possible. If you can’t skip them, lessen their impact with bites of other dishes and sips of water. Wait at least half an hour before brushing.
  5. Load up on colorful vegetables

    Fill your plate with an assortment of colorful veggies, full of smile-friendly vitamins and minerals. Red and orange veggies are usually high in vitamin C (good for gums), while leafy green vegetables are good sources of calcium (for strong teeth).

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