Thanksgiving Tips for Healthy Teeth

celebrate thanksgiving with healthy teeth options
With Thanksgiving being less than a day away (precisely 8 hrs 15 minutes and 35 seconds, not that I’m counting down or anything...), the majority of us are already in the process of preparing our holiday feasts, day dreaming of the delicious food, desserts, and appetizers, and inevitably coming to terms with the negative toll all these sweets will take on our teeth. Hey, New Years is coming up soon, why don’t I just take a break this holiday season and kick off the year with a New Years Resolution to eat better?This may seem like an easy way out, and the perfect excuse to tell your conscious (and your teeth) you will eventually get back into the swing of a healthy diet, but there is a better solution. You can save your smile, keep your teeth healthy, fight plaque buildup, and still enjoy some tasty dishes!Here are some meal ideas containing food the University of Rochester Medical Center rules to be healthy for your teeth: 

Fiber and Calcium Friendly Appetizers

As your guests arrive, serve fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as an appetizer while your Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared. According to the American Dental Association, foods containing fiber provide a natural way to clean your teeth because they get your saliva flowing. Saliva is a crucial element in cleaning your teeth since it protects against the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth after eating sugary or starchy foods.cheese is high in calcium and promotes healthy teethAlthough sugary and starchy foods may taste delicious, they linger in your mouth where bacteria will then feed off them resulting in plaque buildup, but with saliva you can reduce these effects. Some examples of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables are blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears, broccoli, and carrots.Another great appetizer benefiting your teeth is to serve a cheese platter. Who could turn down a delicious tray of Cheddar, Provolone, Gouda, Brie, or Swiss cheese? Cheese contains lots of calcium, which also generates saliva to clean your teeth. Calcium also makes your teeth stronger! 

Dinner Dish Ideas

When it comes to your Thanksgiving dinner, hands-down there has to be turkey on the table (and don’t worry your dental friends understand). Thankfully turkey is chock full of protein, but it is important to have floss handy since it tends to get stuck in your teeth.Colgate also offered a great alternative for serving your green beans: sautéing them in sesame oil. Not only does sesame oil provide flavor, it helps fight plaque, and in some cases has been shown to reverse the effects of gingivitis. An extensive study was actually conducted to see how sesame oil contributed to helping cure plaque induced gingivitis. 


Unfortunately, most of your favorite desserts are filled with sugar. Ergo bacteria will be vigorously feeding off it leading to plaque build-up. Gross! All I wanted to do was enjoy my pumpkin pie and not feel guilty about it, is that too much to ask?!However,  Colgate suggests a tasty dessert alternative. If you serve pears, which are very rich in fiber and are shown to neutralize acid on the surface of your teeth, with honey dipped yogurt, also rich in calcium and phosphates, you will offer your guests the perfect ending to their meal - and a natural way to strengthen their teeth.By combining a cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey, and sprinkling freshly ground cinnamon you will have a simple yet effect dessert dish - wallah!If you do opt to serve popular dessert dishes like pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. it is best to serve them right after dinner. By eating sugary sweets right after meals, you help keep saliva flowing to wash away left over food.
eat sweets right after a meal for healthy teeth
If you choose to eat sugary sweets this holiday, make sure to eat them right after a meal.


When it comes to serving beverages, water and tea are your best options. Tap water contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay and cure damage caused to your enamel.By drinking black and green tea, you are fighting bacteria, preventing cavities, and enjoying a delicious drink. What more can you ask for? And green tea is rich in antioxidants, another important factor to cross off on your healthy food checklist.From all of us here at Western Pennsylvania Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! And remember, there are ways to still make sure your teeth are healthy over the holidays. Sesame Oil Study Citation:Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51 

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