5 Worst Thanksgiving Treats for Your Teeth (and Alternatives)


Turkey and dressing and gravy…oh, my! Oh, yes – it’s that time of year again, when all of the foods we’ve been avoiding throughout the previous months have suddenly shown up all under one roof. Most of us are more than ok with saying, “‘Tis the season!”, and making merry until we are stuffed and lulled into a nice, long nap.

Something that many people don’t think about, however, is what many of those foods (and drinks) are doing to our teeth as we graze throughout the day. Here at Williamsville Family Dentistry, we want to help you keep your teeth healthy year-round. Listed below are 5 of the worst Thanksgiving foods for your teeth and some suggested alternatives:

Pickles & Olives

– yep, that olive tray that your grandma lovingly put together is on the list. When you mix veggies with vinegar, you have a yummy bunch of acid that is going to sit on your teeth and eat away at tooth enamel.

What to eat instead

– head over to that fresh veggie tray and fill up your plate with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery or bell peppers.

Dried Fruit

– most of us avoid Aunt Sally’s fruitcake like the plague, which is chock full of a variety of dried fruits (that is what’s in there, right?). However, even when it comes to a lovely plate full of dried apricots, dates and pineapple, it’s good to steer clear of those as well. They are sticky, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. And although these are natural foods, the sugar content is much higher than in their undried state.

What to eat instead

– try some fresh-picked fruit. Apples are plentiful this time of year and eating them actually helps to scrub some of the stuff off your teeth that might be present from other snacks.

Coffee, Wine & Soda

– most families have at least one of these with their holiday feast. It almost seems strange to imagine pumpkin pie without coffee, or no wine to toast to another year together! Remember that these items all can heavily stain your teeth, in addition to depositing acids on and in between teeth which will eat away at tooth enamel.

What to drink instead

– it seems obvious, but: water is essential! Flavor it with cucumbers, or have sparkling water for a little extra zip! Even if you do have coffee, wine or soda, be sure to drink water often throughout the day to keep your teeth rinsed.


– we may be verging on sacrilegious here. Please forgive us! Cranberries are, indeed, a very healthy food. But they are also tooth staining, and if they are served up in the form of cranberry sauce, they have added sugar and higher acid content that is damaging to teeth.

What to eat instead

– honestly, cranberries have highly proven health benefits. If you have fresh cranberries, just remember to rinse, brush and floss. You can skip the canned sauce by substituting with a homemade relish or chutney.

Pies & Candies

– pecan pie and caramel candies are practically staples during the holidays. But again, you’re faced with extremely sugary and sticky substances that are going to sit on your teeth, welcome more bacteria and eat away at the enamel.

What to eat instead

– try a fresh fruit and yogurt parfait, with a sprinkle of organic granola. You could even treat yourself to a small dollop of whipped cream on top.

The main things to remember this Thanksgiving are to drink plenty of water, take floss with you and use it often, and brush your teeth 3 times during the day. This will help keep the food from sitting in your mouth causing damage to your teeth. And, of course, be sure to come see us for your cleanings every 6 months. Together we can keep your mouth healthy and your smile dazzling!

We make sure each and every one of our clients’ needs and concerns are addressed in a caring and thoughtful manner. We want your experience to be as enjoyable and efficient as possible here at Williamsville Family Dentistry in Williamsville, NY.

Posted in Dental Health

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