Your Traditional Turkey Dinner Might be More Tooth Friendly than You Imagine

Published:December 11th, 2013

 Image courtesy of Stella LeviCome the 25th, a lot of people in the UK will sit down to a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. It’s a meal that is almost guaranteed to blow the diet, but you might take comfort from knowing that it is more tooth friendly than you imagine. In fact your traditional meal can be chock full of useful vitamins and minerals that help to improve tooth and gum health.  It’s essential that your diet contains plenty of vitamins including Vitamin A, C and D, and that it contains sufficient calcium and phosphorus to ensure teeth and bones can develop normally and remain strong.

  • Turkey is the mainstay of most meals, and is a very healthy low-fat meat that contains lots of phosphorus. Phosphorus plays an important role in keeping tooth enamel strong, and in helping it to become more resistant to the acid in saliva. Most times you eat something it will increase the acidity in your mouth which has the effect of softening your tooth enamel. As the acidity levels decrease, the tooth enamel gradually re-hardens, but this process is much more successful if you have plenty of phosphorus in your diet.
  • Cranberries are a popular accompaniment to turkey and contain lots of vitamin C. They are also low in calories and are packed with antioxidants so are great at helping you fight off diseases. Cranberries contain flavonoids, and this is very useful for gum health as it makes it more difficult for bacteria to stick to your teeth so there is less chance of plaque building up. Less plaque means a lower risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Love them or hate them, there is no denying the health benefits of Brussels sprouts. These little emerald gems contain lots of antioxidants as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. Vitamin C helps to promote the immune system, while Vitamin A is good for helping to maintain healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin K is good for helping to regulate the body’s inflammatory response and helps to promote healthy bones, and sprouts also contain another ingredient that has been found to help fight inflammation.  Although gum disease is a bacterial infection, the inflammatory response from the body causes the most damage to the gum tissues and surrounding bone. Eating something that helps to reduce this response will help your gums to remain healthier.
  • The meal wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Christmas pudding that is packed full of nuts and fruit. Currants are an excellent source of Vitamin C and can help reduce inflammation. Sultanas are great for providing magnesium and calcium, and for helping to strengthen bones. Nuts are great for cutting the risk of heart disease, a condition that is thought to be made worse by the presence of gum disease. Eggs contain Vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones.
  • If you can fit it in, then ending your meal with a small amount of cheese, especially hard cheese,  helps to stimulate the flow of saliva, washing away excess food particles and bacteria, and all the calcium will give your teeth a boost.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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