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Healthy Thanksgiving Foods for Your Teeth

November 10, 2016
Posted By: Frank Finazzo, DDS
Dentist in Fontana | Thanksgiving Foods

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday food season as Americans gather with friends and family to celebrate. From turkey and ham to vegetables and desserts, holiday cooking aromas will soon be wafting in from kitchens across the Inland Empire.

You may not know that candy isn’t the only food that is bad for your teeth. Even “wholesome” foods can erode enamel or be harsh on your gums. But there are plenty of healthy foods that you should enjoy this holiday season. With all food, make sure you brush and floss after the meal. Dr. Finazzo has made a list of some of the most beneficial foods for your teeth and your diet that you can request when sitting down at the family table.


Turkey is packed with protein which is good for your body and, although turkey can sometimes get stuck between your teeth, it can’t harm them. So eat up! The high protein count combined with calcium & vitamin D helps keep your teeth & bones strong.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, which help keep your gums healthy. However, candied yam recipes call for marshmallows and sugar. Sticky foods can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on your teeth longer than other types of food. If candied, enjoy sweet potatoes in moderation and drink plenty of water with your meal to help wash away any food particles on your teeth.

Green Bean Casserole

Green beans are healthy, mushrooms are healthy, and onions are healthy so dig in! This is a dish that provides a significant amount of vitamins from healthy vegetables and doesn’t pose any significant risk to your mouth.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are rich in nutrients, including vitamins A and C, beta carotene, and potassium. They help protect your teeth by interfering with the bacteria in your mouth that forms plaque.

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple and is naturally tart so sugar is often added to it to reduce the tartness. This side dish can be acidic and may also stain your teeth. If eaten in moderation with the rest of your meal, cranberry sauce is a fine food. Be careful in indulging in cranberry sauce solely because the acidity can cause decay to your teeth. As recommended with candied sweet potatoes, make sure to drink plenty of water to wash harmful food particles off your teeth.

Macaroni and Cheese

Who can say “no” to a delicious helping of macaroni and cheese? These classic American recipes call for cheese and milk which have calcium and that helps strengthen teeth. Pastas contain starch which can leave sugar behind on your teeth. It is fine to eat a moderate portion of macaroni and cheese, just be sure to brush and floss afterwards.

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes contain vitamins C and B6, and potassium, which are all necessary for good health. But there is a downside: potatoes are starchy and if potato residue is left on your teeth, it can lead to cavities. Starch eats away at healthy teeth.

Pumpkin Pie

Orange vegetables like pumpkin, carrot and squash contain what our bodies use to form tooth enamel. They are a healthy part of most diets and good for healthy teeth. Pumpkin contains vitamin A which helps keep your gums healthy. Beware the added sugar in the pie itself and whatever whipped topping you put on top. So please enjoy the pumpkin pie in moderation.

Book a Post-Holiday Cleaning with our Fontana Office!

The best advice I can give is to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, but please be sure to brush and floss afterward. If something you eat damages your teeth or gums, call our office in Fontana at (909) 822-3003.

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