One of the most important parts of Thanksgiving is sharing dinner with loved ones. With plenty of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pies, there’s something for everybody. However, not all Thanksgiving foods are created equal, especially when it comes to your teeth.
Understanding what’s behind your holiday feast will help you make good choices this holiday season.
Worst Thanksgiving Food for Teeth
Let’s start with the bad news first. The very idea of a Thanksgiving feast suggests a smorgasbord of bad foods, and these can definitely leave your teeth susceptible to damage.
- Cranberry sauce is a popular Thanksgiving food, but it’s loaded with sugar that is not good for your teeth. It’s also acidic and can leave a temporary stain on your teeth.
- While pecans by themselves can be good for your teeth, pecan pie tends to be loaded with sugars and fats that aren’t great for your teeth.
- Candied yams taste amazing, mostly thanks to the marshmallows and brown sugar, but they’re sticky.
- Mashed potatoes with gravy are a staple, but take care to only enjoy this dish in moderation.
- Rolls and stuffings contain a lot of starches and carbs that can stick to your teeth.
What is the Most Unhealthy Thanksgiving Food?
It’s not easy to pick the absolute worst offender at this holiday feast. Pies pack a lot of sugar and a lot of calories making them tough on your teeth and the rest of your body. Surprisingly, candied yams also pack in a lot of sugar-laden calories laced with sticky elements, meaning this popular side dish could give any pie a run for its money.
What Should You Not Eat on Thanksgiving?
You don’t have to avoid these foods altogether! Enjoy your favorite dishes in moderation, and be careful to brush and floss afterward. It may also be a good idea to schedule your check-up and professional teeth cleaning for right after the big day.
What is Healthy to Eat for Thanksgiving?
While it may seem like all Thanksgiving food is bad for your oral health, that’s not necessarily the case. There are plenty of Thanksgiving staples that are good for you and your oral health.
- Don’t skip the appetizer! Cheeses, raw vegetables, and softer nuts are often a part of the pre-meal festivities and they can help your mouth in big ways.
- Turkey is loaded with protein, but be sure to floss after eating because it can get stuck in your teeth.
- Who loves green bean casserole? Loaded with green beans, mushrooms, and onions, this Thanksgiving food is relatively healthy.
Pumpkin pie may have sugars, but it also contains vitamins and minerals that are good for your teeth. Watch the sugar and fat content in the dough and skip or skimp on the whipped cream.
Alternate Options: Thanksgiving Side Dishes that Can Help Your Teeth
Eliminating all of the unhealthy foods from your Thanksgiving feast may be a major downer this holiday season. For some, the thought of skipping traditional favorites is impossible. We’ve found some alternatives that will give you the flavors of the season without all of the consequences for your teeth.
- If you just can’t bear to be without cranberry at your feast, try substituting cranberry juice (it contains an anticavity chemical) or make sugar-free cranberry sauce.
- Yams, or sweet potatoes, are actually loaded with vitamins that are good for your gums. Try using a healthier recipe for sweet potatoes than candied yams.
- You don’t have to skip dessert. Substitute healthier, calcium rich options by enjoying pear slices with a Greek yogurt dip.
What to Drink for Thanksgiving Dinner
There’s no better option than good, old-fashioned tap water, but for the holidays you may be looking for something special. If you decide to drink something different, try to alternate with glasses of tap water to wash away food debris and gain the benefits of fluoride.
- It turns out there could be a reason to enjoy one glass of wine with your Thanksgiving feast. The process of making red wine leads to compounds that fight certain bacteria in the mouth. Be wary of staining and drink in moderation.
- Green and black teas kill bacteria, making them excellent options for before, during, or after your meal. Even better, you can get green and black teas in a variety of flavors including festive options.
No matter how healthy your Thanksgiving feast is, it’s important to thoroughly brush and floss afterward. After all, you want to make sure your smile is healthy throughout the season and into the new year!
The holidays are also the perfect time to have a check-up and professional teeth cleaning. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist or you know you’re due, find the Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics office nearest you and then make an appointment.