People associate Thanksgiving with a lot of things — turkey, family, football, etc. More than anything else, though, many know the holiday for its side dishes. After all, you can’t have all-day feasting without good food choices! Still, there are a few Thanksgiving sides you’re better off without. Some of them, it turns out, are really bad for oral health! To prove it, your Ardmore dentist is here with the scoop. Read on to learn a few holiday sides that could harm your teeth and gums.
As you might know, cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition in various households — perhaps your own included! Despite being delicious, however, it’s packed with tooth-decaying sugar. In fact, most brands have a whopping 121 grams of the carb per can. That being the case, this food attracts bad oral bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and worse.
If and when you do eat cranberry sauce, consider making your own. Doing so will ensure the dish has low sugar and thus won’t damage your teeth.
Stuffing — another Thanksgiving classic — can damage your pearly whites too. Being mostly made of bread, it has starches that help bacteria erode your enamel. These starches also tend to be sticky and cling to teeth long after meals. Adding further insult to injury, the food is full of carbs and lacks nutritional value.
In the future, try getting your stuffing fix with a breadless option that uses beans. This side has protein and fiber, which makes it a healthier replacement.
Sweet Potato Casserole
While sweet potatoes can be a super dental food (they have mouth-friendly vitamins), the same isn’t true of sweet potato casserole. Per its name, the latter dish is sweet and often features a layer of melted marshmallows. It’s therefore loaded with sugar that causes tooth decay and cavities.
If you must have this casserole, try making it with little-to-no sugar or marshmallows. So long as they aren’t drenched in sugar, sweet potatoes can boost oral health.
A fruitcake may sound like a healthy treat, but it’s basically dried fruit that damages teeth. Said fruit has higher sugar levels than its natural counterpart, as it contains no water. Plus, drying it makes it sticky enough to stay on teeth after meals.
Make a fresh fruit crumble for a fruit cake alternative — it’ll have less sugar and won’t be as sticky.
As you can see, Thanksgiving sides can ruin your smile if you aren’t careful. That said, remember to limit your intake of the ones above!
About the Author
Dr. Jamie Guthrie is a dentist in Ardmore, OK, having earned her DDS at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Dentistry. She’s also a member of the American Dental Association and the Oklahoma Dental Association. Given this background, she specializes in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, not to mention emergency dental care. Dr. Guthrie currently practices at her self-titled clinic and is reachable on her website or by phone at (580)-224-9600.