Give Thanks — With the Best Foods for Your Smile

The holiday season is full of reasons to be thankful, reasons to smile and of course, reasons to chow down. However, thereâs no reason why these celebrations should result in a cornucopia of cavities! As youâre planning Thanksgiving dinner and other holiday festivities, pick a menu that provides the nutrients your teethâand your whole body â need to stay healthy. Iron â The bad news: an iron deficiency can lead to sores in the mouth and an inflamed tongue. The good news: lean meats like turkey are a great source of protein, as well as the mineral iron. Feast day fixings: Dark meat has more iron than light meat, so call dibs on the turkey drumsticks! Fiber â Fiber stimulates the digestive system, which amps up saliva production. Saliva is a natural decay fighter. It actually helps to neutralize the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth, and rinse them away. Feast day fixings: Plenty of options to pile on your plate! Pick carrots, peas, beans, broccoli, squash, sweet potatoes, corn and whole-grain bread. Calcium â Your teeth and jaw are made up mostly of calcium, so itâs important to get enough in your diet. Calcium-rich foods help replenish depleted phosphates and minerals your teeth may be missing. Feast day fixings: Sneak an extra serving of calcium into your appetizer offering. Just stir ranch seasonings into plain yogurt for a calcium-rich veggie dip. Vitamin D â To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. Not to mention, a D deficiency can cause âburning mouth syndromeâ with symptoms like bitter taste, dry mouth and yes, a burning mouth sensation! Feast day fixings: Milk does double duty â supplying calcium and vitamin D. Start the day with a bowl of D-fortified cereal for an added boost. Vitamin C â It doesnât just prevent colds, it helps keep gums strong too. A shortage of Vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums and loose teeth! Feast day fixings: Help yourself to sweet-potato seconds â this veggie is full of Vitamin C. So are broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Rinse agents â Even healthy foods contain some sugars, starches or acids that need to be disposed of before they can harm teeth. Saliva helps rinse these particles away, but practicing brushing after meals and other good oral health habits help defend teeth from decay. Feast day fixings: Drinking water or chewing gum after meals and snacks will help saliva rinse away debris. If youâre the host, try setting out a dish of sugar-free gum for guests to chew after eating. If youâre a guest, bring your own and share some minty freshness with your friends and family.


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