healthy thanksgiving food

Healthy Thanksgiving Foods for Your Teeth

Take care of your teeth this holiday season by preparing a dish that’s both healthy and delicious. Some Thanksgiving foods are actually good for your teeth and gums, but others put your mouth at risk of tooth decay. At Lifetime Family Dental, we want to help you enjoy your favorite holiday staples without sacrificing your oral health, so we created a list of the best and worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth. 

Healthy Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Turkey

Luckily, the main course at most Thanksgiving meals is great for your teeth. Because it’s full of protein, turkey can help strengthen your teeth and jaw. Turkey is also a significant source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate to build strong tooth enamel. However, turkey can easily get stuck in your teeth, so be sure to floss as soon as possible after eating.

Vegetables

There are always plenty of vegetables to choose from on Thanksgiving day that offer a variety of benefits for your teeth. For example, green bean casserole has lots of essential vitamins, including A, C, and K. These vitamins promote healthy gums and encourage saliva production. Your mouth uses saliva to rid your mouth of food particles after eating, so adequate saliva production is extremely important for your oral health. 

Yams and sweet potatoes are traditional sides that are also full of essential vitamins. However, candied yams and sweet potatoes contain lots of sticky sugar, which is bad for your teeth. Enjoy candied vegetables in moderation and make sure to drink plenty of water after eating to help prevent tooth decay. 

Broccoli is another vegetable featured in holiday dishes that is great for your teeth. Rich in calcium and fiber, broccoli can also help strengthen your tooth enamel and increase saliva production. Salads and casseroles containing broccoli are excellent mouth-friendly foods for Thanksgiving. 

Pumpkin Pie

Although sugary pies and other desserts can contribute to tooth decay, pumpkin pie is one of the healthier options. Pumpkin has lots of calcium and vitamin C to help strengthen your teeth. However, pumpkin pie typically contains sugar, especially when you add whipped cream, so it is best enjoyed in moderation.

Cheese and Nuts

Thanksgiving dishes that contain cheese and nuts are great for oral health. The calcium in cheese and the protein in nuts help to build strong teeth. Nuts also increase saliva production to help fight off tooth decay.

Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Your Teeth

While it is better for your teeth to avoid the following foods altogether, we understand that resisting many of them on Thanksgiving isn’t very realistic. Just make sure to eat starchy and sugary foods in moderation, drink water after eating, and maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Stuffing and Rolls

Many Thanksgiving feasts wouldn’t be complete without stuffing. Unfortunately, stuffing is extremely starchy and full of sugary carbohydrates. Dinner rolls are another starchy holiday staple that it is better to avoid. As the bacteria in your mouth feed off of sugar and starch, the process leaves plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that contributes to bad breath and causes cavities

Sugary Desserts

Holiday pies, cookies, and other desserts often contain large amounts of sugar. The bacteria in your mouth use sugar to produce acid, which softens your tooth enamel and makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay. 

Cranberry Sauce

Although it’s delicious, cranberry sauce is very acidic and full of sugar. However, you can reduce the sugar content by making homemade cranberry sauce. While it’s not necessarily healthy for your teeth, homemade cranberry sauce is a much better option. 

Gentle Teeth Cleanings in Gilbert

Eating healthy Thanksgiving foods in moderation and practicing good oral hygiene will help you maintain a healthy mouth this holiday season. However, no oral hygiene routine is complete without regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and exams. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, Arizona, we provide gentle cleanings and exams for the whole family. Call 480-558-4331 today to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/5/2021). Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels