The Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods for Your Dental Health

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If you’re like us, your mouth might be getting a workout this Thanksgiving! Want to know what the best and worst foods are for your teeth and gums at the table this year? Read on.

Thanksgiving Drinks

Worst: Sugary sodas and mouth-drying alcohol are the worst for your teeth on Thanksgiving. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn release acids that cause cavities. Alcohol decreases the saliva in your mouth, which means you’re not able to wash away as much food. Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath.

Best: Water is always the best option for your teeth and gums, plus it can help you keep from overeating. If you need a break from water, try green, black or herbal tea — all of which have bacteria-killing properties and/or antioxidants.

Thanksgiving Appetizers

Worst: Candied nuts are probably the worst culprit as far as Thanksgiving appetizers go. The stickiness transfers from nuts to teeth and helps food particles stick to crevices where they can cause cavities. The calorie count also adds up fast, so you’ll get a double whammy against your teeth and waistline!

Best: Cheese plates, naked nuts and vegetable crudités are great options. Cheese and nuts both have have protein and calcium to help strengthen your teeth, and chewing on raw vegetables helps produce saliva to wash away bacteria.

Thanksgiving Main Dishes

Worst: Stuffing, rolls and sugary candied yams are probably the worst offenders for your teeth because they’re loaded with starch — prime food for cavity-causing bacteria. Limit your portions of these foods, and make sure to wash them down with some water.

Best: Turkey is your go-to, dental-health-friendly option on the Thanksgiving table. It’s filled with protein, low in fat, and contains

Thanksgiving Desserts

Worst: As delicious as it is, pecan pie is basically a dental disaster. Crammed full of sugar and sticky, chewy pecans, it’s almost perfectly designed to cause cavities!

Best: Pumpkin pie is actually a great choice, thanks to pumpkin’s vitamin C and calcium. It’s still got a fair amount of sugar, of course, so be sure to wash it down with another glass of water.

How to Take Care of Your Teeth on Thanksgiving No Matter What You Eat

We’ve been known to partake in some of the worst offenders on this list, but luckily, the solution is simple: about 30 minutes after you’ve eaten, step away from the festivities for two minutes and brush your teeth. If you want extra credit — and especially if you’ve eaten any of the stickiest desserts — partake in an extra flossing session too. You’ll undo any potential for damage and come out with fresh breath!

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