Best & Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Teeth

Aerial view of a Thanksgiving turkey that is healthy for teeth
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and our team at Sunshine Pediatric Dentistry is excited to enjoy one of our favorite holidays. Some of the foods in a traditional Thanksgiving feast provide the nutrients necessary for healthy teeth, while others can increase your risk of tooth decay. To help you and your family make tooth-conscious choices this festive season, we’ve compiled the following list of the best and the worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth.

The Good


Turkey is the star of the show at Thanksgiving, and because it’s chock full of protein and B vitamins that strengthen teeth and bone, it’s also a star when it comes to your oral health.


You can also find tooth-strengthening vitamins and minerals in vegetable-based Thanksgiving dishes containing green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and/or squash.

The Bad

Sweet Potatoes & Pumpkin Prepared with Sugar

When it comes to dishes made with sweet potatoes and pumpkin, our feelings are mixed. On the one hand, these delicious orange foods contain many nutrients essential for a healthy mouth, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. However, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie are often prepared with tons of sugar, which increases your risk for cavities. Especially if you add sticky marshmallows to your sweet potatoes, and whipped cream or ice cream on top of your pumpkin pie. If possible, prepare your sweet potato and pumpkin dishes with minimal sugar. But if they do contain high amounts of sugar, the best way to enjoy these treats is in moderation, with a glass of water afterward to help wash away any sugar stuck to your teeth.

Cranberry Sauce

Another Thanksgiving food to watch out for is cranberry sauce. Its high acid content can soften your enamel and make it more susceptible to erosion. Additionally, many cranberry sauces contain a high amount of sugar that will become food for your oral bacteria. If you can’t go without the delightful tanginess of cranberry sauce, use just a small amount and drink some water afterward. And if you can, prepare it yourself with minimal sugar.

Tips to Enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving

  • Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude and enjoy the company of family and friends. But because no one wants to invite tooth decay to the party, be sure to indulge in any sugary Thanksgiving dishes in moderation.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout your day and whenever you eat.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth for 30-60 minutes after eating; instead, chew a piece of sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes to help wash away any sugar from your feast.
  • To keep your oral health on track throughout the holiday season, remember to brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss each day, and keep up with your biannual cleanings and exams.

To ask our team any questions or to schedule your next visit, contact our office today!

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