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5 Thanksgiving Foods that Can Damage Your Dental Health

November 24, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_carmen @ 5:46 pm
Closeup of plate filled with Thanksgiving foods

As Thanksgiving approaches, we usually start to consider the many things we are thankful for. However, the main thing most people think about is the delicious food that awaits! Whether it be sweet potato casserole or stuffing, everyone has their favorite sides. But unfortunately, they can be incredibly destructive to your oral health. Keep reading to learn which items you should only take one helping of and which you should try to avoid altogether.

Pecan Pie

The sugary sweet bliss of pecan pie can be a nightmare for your teeth. The sticky filling can easily stick to your teeth, allowing bacteria to build up and cause damage to your enamel. Even though no pie is good for your dental health, pies made from pumpkin, apple, and sweet potato have less sugar and are less likely to get caught in your teeth.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato pie may have less sugar than pecan pie, but sweet potato casserole is a different story. It is usually topped with marshmallows, brown sugar, or candied nuts. All these tasty, sugar-filled add-ons are likely to stick to your teeth, and the butter and sugar are terrible for your dental health.

Cranberry Sauce

Eating fresh cranberries is good for your oral health, as cranberry juice can reduce plaque buildup by 95 percent. It minimizes the ability of acids from bacteria to generate and decreases damage to your teeth. However, cranberry sauce typically has very little nutritional value and is full of sugar. It only provides nourishment to the cavity-causing bacteria on your teeth. According to the Mayo Clinic, artificial sweeteners don’t contribute to tooth decay. So, if you must have cranberry sauce this holiday season, consider making your own recipe with fresh cranberries and a sugar substitute.


Most stuffing recipes have a bread base. Starches like those found in bread feed bacteria, enabling them to wear down enamel. When your saliva begins to break down the stuffing, it creates a sticky substance. That substance can stay on your teeth even after you’ve finished eating, feeding bacteria and allowing it to produce enamel-damaging acid. The amount of starch in stuffing and the minimal nutritional value makes this side dish one you may try to limit to one serving.

Most people don’t want to give up their favorite Thanksgiving foods, so dental care is even more important during the holidays. Be sure you are brushing twice per day, flossing at least once, and drinking lots of water after eating. This way, when it’s time to visit your dentist, you’re less likely to have an unpleasant surprise.

About the Author

Dr. Bobby J. Carmen and his friendly staff work hard to provide patients with a stellar dental experience. Their goal is to make sure you and your family achieve the bright, beautiful smiles you deserve. Whether you need a cleaning or are experiencing a dental emergency, Dr. Carmen and his team look forward to helping with your oral health needs. For more information on services offered, visit the website or contact the office at 405-364-2200.

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