Although there are some great options for maintaining your oral health, many of the popular Thanksgiving foods are full of sugars and starches.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing with it the dishes you’ve dreamed about eating all year long. Here’s our guide to navigate the best and worst Thanksgiving dishes for your dental health.
Best Dishes for Oral Health
This star of the Thanksgiving feast really packs a protein punch. Other than the occasional tough turkey that might get stuck in your teeth, it’s an excellent choice for your dental health.
Green Bean Casserole – Nearly all of the common components of green bean casserole are healthy, making the downsides of this dish nonexistent. Go ahead and indulge if this is one of those foods you wait all year for!
Two of the main ingredients in this Thanksgiving dish, milk and cheese, are high in calcium which is essential for strong and healthy teeth. The starches in the pasta aren’t ideal, but as long as you avoid overindulging and drink plenty of water, mac and cheese is in the clear.
Pumpkin Pie – Despite the high sugar content, pumpkin pie isn’t a terrible choice for keeping your mouth healthy. Pumpkin is high in Vitamin A, which is key to building and maintaining tooth enamel. Be sure to follow a slice of pumpkin pie with a glass of water and brush your teeth soon after enjoying dessert.
Worst Dishes for Oral Health
Cranberry Sauce – it’s sticky, sweet and acidic for teeth making it #1 on the list of worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth. If it’s eaten with a meal or on your turkey, cranberry sauce isn’t too troublesome. But eating a straight spoonful of this sugary culprit is definitely not advisable.
Mashed Potatoes – One of the most popular Thanksgiving dishes, mashed potatoes and gravy is teetering right on the edge of best/worst holiday foods for your dental health. On the positive end, potatoes provide a lot of important nutrients. The downside is the potential for bacteria developing from the starches in the potatoes. Add in a generous amount of gravy and the nutritional benefits are seriously diminished.
Candied Yams – Though yams themselves are full of good vitamins and minerals that promote healthy gums, candied yams have marshmallow and sugars added making them sticky and sweet. If you choose to enjoy these with your Thanksgiving meal, be sure to drink plenty of water to wash away the sugars from your mouth.
You can read what the American Dental Association has to say about these foods here, but in short, even the worst foods don’t need to be avoided altogether. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family, friends and food. Enjoy your favorite dishes and be sure to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth.
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