Thanksgiving is the one day a year that is well known for going outside of our normal eating habits. On average a person will consume over 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, most of them from sugary and starchy foods. Many articles on the topic of Thanksgiving dinner cover the impact of extra calories to our waistline but do not mention what they also do to your teeth.
The sweet, and starchy foods consumed on Thanksgiving boost the bacteria Streptococcus mutans which eats sugars, sticks to teeth, and then produces an acid that eats tooth enamels. This means that all the rolls, pies, stuffing, and even cranberry sauce consumed on Thanksgiving give S. mutans the perfect opportunity to thrive in your mouth.
S. mutans doesn’t just make an appearance during dinner, it also occurs as we graze on snacks or taste our cooking throughout the day. One way to reduce its impact is to drink water throughout the day and after eating. Water flushes out the food particles that breed the bacteria.
The absolute best way to combat S. mutans is to brush, rinse, and floss after eating. If you are traveling for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to at least pack some floss to get the leftovers out of our teeth!