Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family, and, of course, a lavish spread of delicious dishes. However, amidst the turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, it’s easy to overlook how some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes can impact our oral health. In this blog, we’ll explore which popular side dishes might be less than ideal for your teeth and gums and offer some tooth-friendly alternatives.
Sticky Situations: Candied Yams and Marshmallows
Candied yams, a Thanksgiving staple, are often topped with marshmallows, creating a sticky, sugary treat. This combination can be problematic for your oral health. The sugar in marshmallows feeds the harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay. Moreover, the sticky texture clings to your teeth, giving the bacteria more time to do their damage.
Acidity Overload: Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is another holiday favorite that can be tough on teeth. Cranberries are naturally acidic, and most cranberry sauces are loaded with added sugar. This acidic environment can weaken tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Additionally, the deep red color can lead to staining of your teeth.
Carb-Heavy Choices: Rolls and Stuffing
Bread rolls and stuffing, while seemingly harmless, are rich in refined carbohydrates. When these carbs break down in your mouth, they convert to simple sugars, providing a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. Furthermore, bread can stick to the crevices of your teeth, prolonging the harmful effects.
Sweet Temptations: Pecan Pie
Pecan pie, a delightful blend of nuts, butter, and syrup, is another oral health offender. The high sugar content in the syrup and the sticky texture can adhere to your teeth, promoting tooth decay. Additionally, biting down on hard pecan pieces can pose a risk to your teeth, potentially leading to cracks or fractures.
While it’s important to be mindful of these side dishes during Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean you have to skip them entirely. Moderation is key. Enjoy smaller portions, drink plenty of water, and maintain good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing. Opting for less sugary, less acidic, and less sticky alternatives can also help in preserving your oral health while still enjoying the festive season. Happy Thanksgiving, and here’s to your health – both overall and oral!
About the Author
Dr. Joshua Holcomb, DDS, a distinguished dentist in Collierville, combines six years of expertise with a compassionate approach. Graduating from UT Memphis, he offers comprehensive services, including prosthodontics and pediatric care. Dedicated to continuous learning, he exceeds 100 annual CE hours. As a member of the Spear Faculty Club, he ensures top-tier care. Balancing his professional commitment, he’s a devoted father to four, embodying excellence in both dentistry and family life.
If you have any questions about how to protect your teeth this Thanksgiving, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (901) 850-0300.