Best & Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Teeth

A cluster of fall leaves next to a candle on brown paper with the words "give thanks" to celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here! And you know what that means: food, food, and more food. But how do you navigate the holiday without putting your oral health at risk? Here, we’ll discuss the best and worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth.

The Best


As the central dish of many Thanksgiving feasts, turkey contains B vitamins that ward off mouth sores and oral inflammation. Gum inflammation, or gingivitis, is the first stage of gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed with proper oral care and healthy eating. The only precaution is that you need to be careful of turkey getting caught in between your teeth, so remember to floss after you’ve eaten.

Sweet Potatoes & Pumpkin

Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are high in vitamin C, which is a vital mineral for keeping your gums healthy, as well as vitamin A, which is important for your saliva production. However, if they’re candied, you should stay away as the extra sugar is damaging to your teeth.

Cranberry Sauce

It may seem surprising, but homemade cranberry sauce mixed with little to no sugar is actually good for your teeth! With vitamins A and C, potassium, and beta-carotene, cranberries help protect your teeth from bad oral bacteria that turn sugars into enamel-destroying acid.

The Worst


As you might imagine, the desserts on the table are the worst Thanksgiving food for your teeth and gums. Sweets like pies (especially sticky pecan pie), cakes, and cookies coat your teeth with their sugar and increase your risk for developing decay. However, the vitamin A found in a low-sugar pumpkin pie can help keep your enamel and gums strong. But try to go light on any whipped topping and drink plenty of water to wash down your dessert.

Mashed Potatoes

While potatoes are high in potassium and vitamins C and B6, they are incredibly starchy. When starch is broken down into sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feed on it and produce acids that wear away at your tooth enamel. Take only a small helping of this holiday favorite and avoid drowning it with gravy, which can also be packed with sugar.

Reach Out to Our Team!

If you have more questions about which Thanksgiving foods are good and bad for your oral health, contact us today. And don’t forget to schedule your biannual appointment with us so we can make sure your teeth are cavity-free and rid of any harmful plaque.

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