The Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Your Teeth

thanksgiving foods

Thanksgiving festivities generally revolve around tables filled with delicious seasonal foods. While it’s tempting to indulge in sugary sweets, it’s important to consider your teeth and gums when choosing what items to include on your plate.

Before you make your Thanksgiving shopping list, learn what foods promote healthy teeth and gums, and others that you should enjoy in limited quantities.

Eat More of These Thanksgiving Foods


Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and A. According to the American Dental Association, vitamin C can help strengthen your gums and the soft tissue within your mouth. It can also protect against gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease. 

Green Bean Casserole

Green beans are a rich source of vitamins K, C, and A, along with folic acid and fiber. If your casserole contains mushrooms, it’s even better for your teeth. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as folate (B9), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) and thiamine (B1), all of which help minimize oral inflammation. If you add onions to your casserole, you increase its nutritional impact, since onions are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber and folic acid.


Packed with protein and free from sugars and starch, turkey is good for your teeth. It contains a significant amount of Vitamin D, too, which helps strengthen your tooth enamel. 

Macaroni and Cheese

Many Both milk and cheese contain calcium, which helps strengthen teeth. Research from NCBI suggests that cheese can help lower the risk of cavities by reducing enamel demineralization. Studies also indicate that chewing cheese stimulates saliva production, creating a more alkaline environment that buffers the acids formed in plaque.

Foods to Avoid on Thanksgiving

Pecan Pie

The sticky filling alongside chewy pecans may be one of the worst cavity offenders on the Thanksgiving dessert menu. The higher the sugar content, the worse it will be for your teeth. You should opt for more oral healthy friendly pies that include dark chocolate, oatmeal, sweet potato, bananas or carrots. 

Cranberry Sauce

Sadly, this sweet sauce contains a high sugar content to balance the tartness of the cranberries, increasing your chance for cavities. It’s dark red hue also tends to stick to and stain teeth, increasing your risk for decay. If Thanksgiving isn’t the same without it, make sure you follow these steps after your meal to avoid cavities. 


SaWe hate to say it – but those starchy, buttery rolls are full of sugary carbohydrates that can build up bacteria in your mouth, leading to cavities. If you must indulge, always follow up with water to wash away debris.


Be careful with your alcohol consumption during the holidays. From wine to cider, drinking large amounts can reduce saliva production, erode tooth enamel, and even stain teeth. If you do decide to drink, make sure you rinse with water throughout your meal and brush your teeth soon after. 

We hope that you enjoy a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! If you do notice any dental issues after celebrating, contact one of our Gentle Dental Affiliated Practices near you for an examination. We take pride in taking care of the dental needs of you and your family – from prevention to emergency services.