It’s time for pumpkin pie, juicy turkey, and delicious cranberry sauce! As you can probably guess, not all Thanksgiving foods are going to be tooth-friendly. That doesn’t mean your children have to suffer through a bland, tasteless Thanksgiving meal though. Consider these tips as you plan a festive meal that will treat your child’s oral health kindly.
Include more options for crunchy fruits and vegetables.
Thanksgiving is the one time of year when it’s appropriate to have an endless variety of sides to go with your turkey. So, why not take advantage of the opportunity to give your child healthy options that will also benefit their teeth? Sweet potatoes, a Thanksgiving favorite, are full of healthy fibers that increase saliva production and remove bacteria on the teeth as you chew. The key is to avoid adding large amounts of brown sugar and marshmallows before handing your child his plate. Other good vegetables to include are broccoli, carrots and celery, all of which are high in fiber.
While pumpkin pie is absolutely delicious, it’s also packed with sugars that will stick to your child’s teeth. Pumpkin, however, can be just as tooth-friendly as the crunchy vegetables mentioned above. Explore your recipe options and find creative ways to use pumpkin without making a sugary pie.
Skip the cranberry sauce but don’t forget the cranberries.
Traditional cranberry sauce from the can is sure to cause bacteria formation on your child’s teeth, but real cranberries can actually be good for them. Microbiologist Hyun “Michel” Koo discovered that cranberries disrupt bacteria from forming plaque and acid that cause tooth decay. But, that doesn’t mean you should allow your child to hoard the cranberries. The fruit still contains acidic content and should be consumed in conservative amounts.
Try not to linger around the dinner table.
Everyone loves to revisit the dinner table or fridge throughout the day to pick at the Thanksgiving leftovers. What they don’t realize is that the constant snacking disrupts your tooth enamel’s ability to re-harden. Each time your child “grazes” on leftovers, the more often his tooth enamel has to reset the clock. Try to limit your child from snacking after your Thanksgiving meal, and his teeth will thank you!