Wondering whether your Thanksgiving feast is healthy for growing teeth? Our tables are often flooded with Thanksgiving staples we simply can’t skip. They’re tradition! And you can’t have Thanksgiving without all the best stuff and our family favorites.

Here are our tips and facts about some of the most common Thanksgiving food items that we all love to enjoy so much on that wonderful family day.


Rich in protein and B vitamins, the turkey is the star of the table. Meat is a common food to get stuck in between the teeth. Be sure you get rid of any meat stuck between teeth by flossing everyday.

Mashed potatoes and gravy

Potatoes are starchy and cavity-causing bacteria love to snack on starches for energy. The by-product of starch and sugar consumption by the cavity-causing bacteria is acid. This can damage and demineralize enamel surfaces, so remember to brush and floss later.

Cranberry sauce

A mainstay of the Thanksgiving table, with recipes often passed down from older generations. It’s kind of a dessert masquerading as a side dish because of the sugar content. It is actually best to eat this with other more hearty foods to help raise the pH in the mouth and prevent the acid from the fruits from attacking the enamel. Swishing or rinsing your mouth with water after consuming sugary and acidic foods is very protective of enamel.

Candied yams

Marshmallows and candied yams with coffee or hot cocoa – that’s mouthwatering. The stickiness and sweetness isn’t mouth-healthy, though. You may want to skip candying the yams and simply enjoy the sweet potatoes in another delicious recipe. You’d still get vitamin A and C, which keep your gums healthy.

Pumpkin pie

Of course we can’t have a Thanksgiving feast without pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, but all the sugar in the pie can outdo the good.

We all know the traditional Thanksgiving meal isn’t going anywhere and it really shouldn’t. It is wonderful to have this bountiful meal and give thanks for everything we have.

However, if you and your guests want to mix some things up with some healthier options throughout the day, consider serving some grilled or steamed veggies, nuts, a cheese platter (excellent for dental health), and pear and apple slices with a honey and yogurt dip for dessert. These are nutritious and filling low-calorie and tooth friendly ideas.

But, who are we kidding, we know we’re all going to have fun eating the good stuff. Just don’t forget to brush and floss before bed that night.

Happy Thanksgiving and GO LIONS!

About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.

39400 Garfield Rd., Suite 200
Clinton Township, MI
Phone: 586-286-0700
Fax: 586-286-5932