What will you be having for Thanksgiving? Have you thought about how the food you eat affects your teeth?
You know that candy can be tough on your teeth, giving the acid-making bacteria that cause cavities lots of food. And so you might be thinking that passing on the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie would be a good idea.
As your pediatric dentist can tell you, starch is tough on your teeth as well. Lots of starch makes the plaque on your teeth extra sticky, cementing the bacteria and their acid in place. This means seemingly safe foods, like rolls and mashed potatoes, are just as bad for your teeth as sweet, sugary stuff.
Other foods that are normally very good when raw become bad for your teeth when cooked. A raw apple, with its crunchy scouring of your teeth, is very good. Apple pie? Not so much. Without their crunch, apples lose some of what makes them such a smile-friendly food. Drown them in sugary pie filling and starchy pie crust and they’re just as big a threat to your teeth as candy.
The safest things for you to eat are foods low in starch, sugar, and carbohydrates. These include certain vegetables, like green beans. They also include the king of the Thanksgiving table: the turkey. Most meat is low in carbs, starch, and sugar.
But what’s turkey without stuffing and gravy? Both of those have lots of starch and carbs in them. There’s no need to deny yourself yummy food, not so long as you have a toothbrush! Just as with Halloween, follow a little yummy indulgence with a good brushing and flossing. Carbs, starch, and sugar can’t do much harm if you don’t let them stay on your teeth.
So have some potatoes and cranberry sauce, and finish up with some pie. Just don’t neglect the veggies or the turkey. And never fail to brush and floss, no matter how special the occasion.