Thanksgiving is around the corner, and if you are a parent, you are already thinking of what to cook for your guests. However, if you are a parent of a child who has just begun her or his dental journey, then you might want to think twice before preparing some dishes for your child. Listed below are the worst Thanksgiving dishes for your child's teeth.
Though sweet potatoes are a real source of nutrition and provide that wonderfully sweet taste, they're also one of the worse foods for your teeth. Why? Because they contain starches that feed the bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay! Instead, substitute the sweet potato with something more tooth-friendly, like brown rice or quinoa.
Also, make sure you rinse your child's mouth with water after you eat your dinner so bacteria don't have a chance to form in your mouth. Water will not only help wash the food particles away, but it will also help neutralize acids in the mouth and fight plaque buildup. Make it a habit for them to always drink a full glass of water after dinner.
Yes, mashed potatoes are delicious and seem like a kid's favorite, but they should not be a staple in your child's diet around this time of year! They are full of starch and can quickly turn to sugar when mashed. This can cause cavities by feeding the bacteria that cause them. Instead of serving them plain, try adding some other healthy veggies, such as carrots or cauliflower, for a delicious twist that will still be nutritious and healthy for your child's teeth!
While bread is a food that you can enjoy without any worries, it is not good for the teeth. Bacteria thrive on the starches and yeast in bread and can easily form plaque on the teeth and gums. This will eventually lead to cavities.
That said, if you are already planning on enjoying some holiday stuffing on Thanksgiving, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage to your child's teeth. First, consider making the more tooth-friendly version of the classic dish by adding fresh celery to the mix. Celery is fibrous and full of water. This means it acts as a great natural toothbrush for your enamel and can wash away bits of food and bacteria from around your child's teeth. Additionally, consider adding apples to the dish for even more benefits. Apples are crunchy and help scrub away any lingering debris that is stuck to your enamel.
Cranberries are naturally acidic, which can eat away at your child's enamel. The acid can also weaken and soften the protective layer of teeth, making your child more susceptible to tooth decay. If you do want to serve cranberries at your family Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to offer them alone with no added sugar or sweetening agents like honey or sugar. For a healthy alternative, serve fresh cranberries plain and use the leftover juice to make a cranberry vinaigrette for your dinner salad.
Though pecan pie is sometimes made without sugar, many versions do contain added sugars. Depending on the recipe used, the pie can contain upwards of 30 grams of sugar per slice – about as much as your child should eat in an entire day! The sticky, sweet texture of the pie is also likely to cause new cavities to form or to exacerbate existing tooth decay. Though the filling is tasty, it can easily get stuck between teeth. If your child eats pecan pie for dessert on Thanksgiving Day, be sure to check their teeth for any stuck pieces before letting them go to sleep that night. If immediate dental care is necessary, contact your dentist's office to schedule an appointment right away.
To take care of your child's oral health, contact Grant Gerety, DDS, at Warren Clinic Bldg # 7, 4606 E. 67th St., Suite 310, Tulsa, OK 74136. Call us at (918) 493-3031 to book an appointment.