What does Thanksgiving mean for you?

This November holiday usually conjures images of family and friends gathering together to eat a feast and show appreciation for the blessings in life. Make sure that compromising your dental health is not part of the menu. Follow these five tips to protect your teeth this Turkey Day.

Shorten meal times:

Did you know that, by extending the length of a meal, you run a greater risk of doing damage to your teeth? Eating longer meals, or snacking sporadically throughout the day, prolongs the amount of time that your teeth are exposed to the sugars, starches, and acids—all substances that can encourage the development of cavities in your mouth. We understand that a big meal is a Thanksgiving tradition, but enjoy your plate, or two, of food, and then busy yourself with other activities until the next meal time.

Reach for the water:

Looking for the healthiest beverage possible? The answer usually is water. While being the ideal source of hydration, water also has zero calories, contains no sugar, and has none of the acids that can damage the enamel of your teeth. If you are planning to eat a large or lengthy meal (and Thanksgiving feasts definitely qualify), drink water, which stimulates saliva production, during and after the meal to prevent food particles and bacteria from gathering on the surfaces of your teeth.

Choose wisely on sides:

We hate to break it to you, but over-consumption of many side dishes that are traditional Thanksgiving favorites actually could compromise your dental health. Cranberry relish, for example, is a triple threat; it’s sticky, high in sugar, and acidic. Even dressing, or stuffing as some call it, and other carb-loaded side dishes pack a punch to your oral health. Carbohydrates break down into sugar, which fuels the bacteria in your mouth.

Brush up:

Remember that each of us should brush twice per day, and floss daily, in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Do not neglect this routine on Thanksgiving, even if that means bringing a toothbrush and floss when you head over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house to feast on turkey and all the trimmings. Just wait until at least 30 minutes after the meal is over to brush; this allows your teeth to produce important protective minerals. Not able to brush after Thanksgiving feast? Chew on a piece of sugar-free gum, which will improve saliva production while also aiding the digestive process.

Schedule a teeth cleaning in Orange City:

You should visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and examination by your Deltona dentist. At Terry Soule, DDS, our team of oral health professionals will perform a cleaning that is the only way to remove all the bacteria and plaque from your mouth. Dr. Soule also offers several preventive care services, which can diagnose a potential problem with your teeth before it becomes serious, or provide additional defense against threats such as cavities and gum disease. Learn more or schedule a consultation by calling (386) 775-1552.

Terry Soule, DDS, is proud to offer state-of-the-art dental care to patients in the areas of DeBary, Orange City, and Deltona in Florida.