Thanksgiving is one of the most popular food-related holidays of the year! Here is some Turkey Day trivia to share with family and friends around the table, along with tips for making it a mouth-healthy celebration.
1. The average person in the U.S. eats 16-18 pounds of turkey annually. In addition, each year 280 million turkeys are sold in the U.S. at Thanksgiving time. That is a lot of turkey! Make sure you balance the turkey with choices from all of the important food groups for better nutrition, including fruits and vegetables. Crispy fruits and veggies help remove plaque from your teeth to prevent cavities.
2. The pilgrims did not eat pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes or cranberries at the first Thanksgiving feast. Today these foods are on tables across the country. Did you know that researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that cranberry juice strengthens teeth, making it hard for bacteria to cling to them? Oral biologist Hyun (Michel) Koo, D.D.S, Ph.D. and his team discovered evidence that cranberry juice prevents glucan, the building block of plaque, from forming.
3. The pilgrims ate with knives, spoons, and their fingers because they didn’t use forks. They didn’t use toothbrushes or dental floss either. After your Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly with a soft bristled toothbrush with a non-slip handle and flexible neck. Always clean your toothbrush after brushing. Also floss carefully to remove food from between teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) you should floss your teeth at least once a day. If you have a hard time reaching your back molars, don’t give up. Unfortunately that is where most decay occurs. Instead, try a wooden or plastic floss holder or a pre-threaded dental pick.
4. The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, which marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Consider purchasing one of the many dental products on the market for keeping your smile clean and white. For example, an electric toothbrush may encourage a child (or adult!) to brush more often as well as more thoroughly. A water flosser or air flosser device can help people embrace flossing. Does a child in your family play a contact sport? Buy them a custom mouthguard to protect their teeth. The ADA says that of all the mouth injuries that occur each year, 1/3 of them may be sports-related. A custom mouthguard can protect against lost or broken teeth, fractured crowns and facial injuries.
5. Many families gather around the table so that each person can name something they are thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. It is a special tradition that brings people together. Be grateful for good oral health this Thanksgiving and all year round. The best way to have a healthy mouth is to take great care of it. Make sure you see the dentist for regular exams and cleanings. That gives your dentist the opportunity to identify issues when they are easy to treat.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!