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Happy Thanksgiving! We hope your holiday is filled with traditions that uplift you, loved ones who inspire you, family and friends who love and appreciate you, and Thanksgiving treats that make you not only happier but healthier.

Out of all the holidays you celebrate throughout the year, Thanksgiving is the one that is most centered around food. The good news is that there are many different dishes you can prepare that are actually good for your dental health. Check out these delicious alternatives for your Thanksgiving table as reviewed by your favorite DTLA dentists.

Thanksgiving Appetizers and Dental Health

Nuts, raw vegetables, and cheese are all good choices to munch your way to good dental health. Nuts contain minerals and calcium that help to strengthen your teeth. They also require a good amount of chewing that stimulates saliva production, which prevents decay by fighting germs that can damage your dental health.

Crunchy raw vegetables help clean your teeth by producing saliva as you eat them. Celery in particular is good for your dental health, because its fibrous strands act as natural dental floss, cleaning between your teeth. Cheese, in addition to containing calcium for strong teeth and bones, also contains casein, which is a protein that strengthens your teeth enamel.

thanksgiving foods for dental health happy thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Turkey and Casserole

While turkey is a good source of protein that is good for your teeth, it does tend to get caught between your teeth, so be sure to floss after eating.

Instead of green bean casserole, a wonderful variation is green beans sautéed in sesame oil. Studies have shown that you can actually replace your mouthwash with sesame oil to reduce plaque and, in some cases, even reverse the effects of gum disease. Top this dish with sesame seeds for the benefits of added crunch. You will produce more saliva, which helps to clean your teeth.

Thanksgiving Dessert and Dental Health

Trade in the traditional pumpkin pie for something your teeth will thank you for. Fresh pear slices with a honey-yogurt dip is a sophisticated alternative that is easy to prepare and elegant to serve. Simply arrange some sliced pears on a platter and top them with a cup of plain Greek yogurt mixed with two tablespoons of honey and a dash of cinnamon. Pears reduce damaging acid that sits on the surface of your teeth and honey is a natural antiseptic. The calcium in yogurt also helps to strengthen your teeth.

In addition to being good for your teeth, these tooth-healthy foods are also heart healthy and less fattening than traditional Thanksgiving fare. Add something new from the selections above to your Thanksgiving menu this year. Your teeth will thank you for it.

Dental Health after Thanksgiving

Along with choosing a healthy Thanksgiving meal (and rinsing, brushing, and flossing after dessert), make sure you’re getting you teeth cleaned regularly. End of the year is a great time to schedule your 6-month checkup and dental cleaning, as it is easy to keep as a part of your yearly routine.

End of the year also brings opportunity to make sure that your remaining health and dental benefits for the current year do not go unused. Any remaining dental insurance benefits you may have left in 2016 will not carry over and will expire on December 31. If you do not use them this year, you lose them! So why lose “free” money you already paid for, especially if you do have some dental issues or need a dental cleaning or exam?

But don’t delay, because our appointment availability may be limited. After Thanksgiving, our dental office will be open November 27 through December 22 and closed from December 23, 2016 through January 02, 2017.

Appointments are made on first-come first-served basis, so please call us at 213-486-0006 or make your appointment online today!