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5 Thanksgiving Dinner Dental Hazards

5 Thanksgiving Dental HazardsWhile the holidays are a time for thankfulness and family, when we think of the Thanksgiving holiday we often focus on the food. Your belly might be satisfied on this day of indulgence, but it can be a nightmare for your dental health. It’s important to remember not to completely sacrifice your health on this day and to find a balance with what you are eating and your oral health.

Your mouth goes into high gear with the amount and types of foods you find on the Thanksgiving table. Certain foods can pose a threat to dental health and to dental solutions, like dentures and braces. Watch out for holiday dental hazards, and take steps to protect your oral health so you can fully enjoy the day with loved ones.


A lot of sugar in foods can attack your tooth enamel and create extra plaque that contributes to dental problems. On Thanksgiving, you might end up eating too much sugar with marshmallows on sweet potatoes, candies, cranberry sauce, sugar-filled drinks and pie for dessert. See if you can cut the sugar content in your meal – which would be positive for your overall health – or at least clean your mouth throughout the day. Starchy foods, like the Thanksgiving favorites sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and stuffing, can also create plaque.

Red Wine or Fruit Juice

If you like a glass of red wine or fruit juice with your Thanksgiving meal, you’ll be adding acid to your mouth that can break down the enamel on your teeth. Other drinks can pose a problem as well if they include added sugar or feature alcohol, which dries up the saliva that helps naturally clean your mouth. Think about drinking water or a beverage with less acid and sugar. Alternatively, you could swish with water after drinking these beverages or clean your mouth after the meal.

Sticky Foods

Thanksgiving can bring sticky foods like marshmallows, candied pecans, and caramel on your dessert. These sticky foods have a lot of sugar that can lead to decay, plus they stick to teeth, get stuck in braces and even dislodge dentures. When food sticks in the mouth and stay there, it can encourage plaque that can cause dental issues.

Hard, Sharp Foods

Foods that break down into hard and sharp pieces can stab the gums, get stuck between teeth and get stuck in dentures or braces. These are mostly the foods that families snack on until dinner is ready, including chips, nuts, hard candies, popcorn and other hard treats. Similarly, seeds on your rolls could get lodged into the hard-to-reach spots of your mouth.

Thanksgiving & Continuous Food

It’s not just the type of food you eat on Thanksgiving, but also the amount of it that affects your dental health. When you eat extra food consistently throughout the day, you’re continually exposing your teeth and gums to plaque that can lead to dental problems. Try to stick to designated eating times instead of grazing, and be sure to brush after you eat.

Consider your oral health when you’re enjoying a Thanksgiving feast. Think about avoiding certain foods and clean your mouth well after you eat. If you do find issues with your dentures or braces after your Thanksgiving feast, schedule an appointment with Dr. Dale Dunn or Dr. Justin Poff for a checkup!

About the Author: Dr. Justin Poff, DDS

Dr. Poff has been practicing dentistry since 2011. He received his dental degree from the University of Tennesse Health and Science Center. Dr. Poff is dedicated to excellence in dentistry and has committed to furthering his education to the topics of general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, short-term orthodontics, and implant dentistry.

Dr. Justin Poff, DDS

Arkansas native Dr. Justin Poff, DDS, is a University of Tennessee dental graduate committed to providing outstanding services in general, cosmetic, orthodontic, and implant dentistry. He now practices in Nashville, where he relocated with his wife after graduation, and continues to pursue excellence in dental care. When not in the dental office, Dr. Poff indulges in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and skiing and contributes his time to the local community through his involvement with Young Life in Williamson County.

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