Derek Dean, DDS, MS
Glen Dean, DDS
Grant Butler, DMD

Thanksgiving Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

Let’s face it. Most of the food served for Thanksgiving Dinner isn’t recommended by the proverbial “9 out of 10 dentists.” However, if you don’t overdo the tooth-unfriendly foods, and add a few tooth-friendly foods, you can enjoy the tasty tradition while still maintaining good oral health.

thanksgiving dinner foods good for teeth and oral health


For most people, turkey is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Turkey is high in protein, and fortunately, there’s nothing particularly bad about it from an oral health perspective. You’ll likely get some turkey stuck between your teeth, so just make sure you brush and floss before the turkey’s tryptophan makes you doze off during the football game!


According to conventional wisdom, lobster was on the table when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians chowed down in 1621 for what we call “The First Thanksgiving.” Like turkey, seafood is not only an excellent source of protein, but often contains cavity-fighting fluoride.

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Sweet Potatoes and yams are very rich in vitamins A and C, which are good for your gums. They do contain starch, though, which breaks down into cavity-causing sugars. As long as you don’t cover your sweet potatoes and yams in melted, sugary marshmallows, feel free to enjoy them in moderation.

Green Beans Sauteed in Sesame Oil

In place of the traditional green bean casserole, try sauteeing them in sesame oil, which has been shown to reduce the effects of plaque. For an added crunch, use raw sesame seeds instead of the usual french fried, artificial onions.

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie

As with sweet potatoes, the vitamin A in pumpkin is good for your gums, and also helps strengthen tooth enamel. But you have to make it with a sugar substitute instead of cavity-causing sugar. And if you add whipped topping to your slice of pie, make sure it’s sugar-free, too.

For healthy snacks, cheese or raw veggies are a smart choice. Cheese contains strength-building calcium, and the saliva produced by chewing raw vegetables washes away bacteria. Celery, with its fibrous strands, is particularly good for cleaning between teeth.


Most beverages popular at Thanksgiving are enemies of oral health, so be sure to drink plenty of water. It not only washes away the bad stuff, but fluoridated tap water does double-duty by neutralizing cavity-causing acids.

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll eat more on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. But if you choose your foods wisely, the only thing you’ll need to see the dentist for is your regular checkup.

Speaking of which, if it’s about time for a visit, contact us to schedule an appointment today! In the meantime, Dr. Dean and the rest of his team here at Ruby Canyon Dental wish you a Happy Thanksgiving season!

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