I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If your family is anything like my family, your Thanksgiving spread probably required two additional tables just to hold all the food. I…

Thanksgiving food that's good for dental health

Thanksgiving Dinner – What Have You Done to Your Teeth?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If your family is anything like my family, your Thanksgiving spread probably required two additional tables just to hold all the food. I felt like I was eating all day - nibbling on food as I prepared it throughout the day, the main meal, dessert, and then leftovers for a snack a few hours later. If I hadn't made sure to brush my teeth, I'm sure I would have a string of cavities by now. Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is on its way - if you want healthy teeth, you'll have to stay on your guard during those gargantuan meals! Here's how several common holiday dishes can help or harm your teeth.
  • Turkey: Turkey contains phosphorous which, along with calcium and vitamin D, helps construct and reinforce the bones, protecting your teeth and jaw bones from decay.
  • Stuffing: Most stuffing contains celery, and celery is great for your teeth! Mushy breading can stick in crevices and attract bacteria, though, so make sure you rinse your mouth by drinking water.
  • Mashed potatoes: Even the most basic mashed potato recipes contain milk products (butter, milk, and maybe even sour cream). Dairy has a lot of calcium, which helps strengthen bones - including teeth. Potatoes have a high starch content, though, so be sure to brush your teeth or those starches will lead to decay.
  • [Insert vegetable] casserole: Vegetables are healthy for your body, but those green beans, corn or broccoli will not affect your teeth much. What could have an impact is the cheese on top or the dairy filling component - more calcium!
  • Cranberry sauce: This tart berry has a double helping of dental benefits. The compounds in cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the teeth. It also interrupts enzymes when they're trying to form into plaque.  Be careful to avoid the sugary versions of this tart berry.
  • Pumpkin pie: This holiday favorite contains a lot of sugar. My recipe uses 3/4 of a cup. Plus whipped cream on top. And you can't forget the Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream on the side. That's right, I'm talking about a delicious cavity waiting to happen. Enjoy your pie, but be sure to drink a glass of water and brush your teeth shortly after dessert to prevent the sugars from sitting around and decaying your teeth.
You may still be recovering from your Thanksgiving feast, but the holiday season is in full swing, and with festivity comes food. Enjoy the special food this time of year, but keep your dental health in mind. Brush your teeth, floss daily and see your dentist for a checkup, and your teeth just might survive the season unscathed.

What did you eat for Thanksgiving? What was your favorite dish?

11 Comments
    • I have the same feeling! It’s just important to be mindful of what we’re eating and be sure to rinse and brush your teeth afterward.

  1. I knew there was a reason we needed to eat turkey more than once a year! My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is yams with marshmallows baked on top. I should make those more than once a year too, they’re so easy!

  2. This is such a great post… I don’t think we often stop to think how each food we’re putting in our mouths affects our precious teeth! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving too!!

    • And food you wouldn’t even think about, too! Like orange juice, for example, is great for your body, but the acidity is actually horrible for your teeth. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t drink orange juice, but maybe we could drink it through a straw or rinse with water shortly afterward. (If you want to learn more about how orange juice affects your teeth, I actually wrote about it in this post.)

  3. I always wondered what effect certain foods could have on teeth! It’s interesting that turkey actually helps keep your teeth healthy. We should eat more of it, I guess! :)

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  5. I have such a hard time choosing, but I might be able to narrow it down to two. I’m going to have to go with my mom’s green bean casserole and my mom’s homemade cranberry relish (fresh cranberries, orange, pecans… tart and DELICIOUS).

    And I DID drink a lot of water and brush my teeth! I don’t want cavities by the time Christmas rolls around.

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