It’s almost time for Thanksgiving, a holiday known for a big meal and special holiday treats like cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. As your dentist, we don’t expect you to completely skip treats, but you can choose smart Thanksgiving food to help protect your dental health.

Some foods are more damaging to your teeth than others. Check out our rundown on some Thanksgiving favorites:

  • Turkey – This entree is one of the least problematic dishes on your table. It has lots of protein, which is good for you. About the only dental knock against it is its tendency to get stuck in teeth. If that happens to you, remove it as soon as you can after eating.
  • Pie – When it comes to pie, pumpkin is a better option than apple, cherry, or chocolate. Pumpkin is packe with vitamin A, which strengthens tooth enamel. It also tends to have less added sugar than other pies and usually isn’t topped with meringue. Pumpkin won’t stain your teeth as berries can. To keep it as healthy as possible, eat it without a whipped cream topping.
  • Cranberries – Cranberry sauce usually contains lots of sugar to balance out the tartness of the berries. Plus it can really stain your teeth since the sticky sauce can cling to enamel. Use cranberry sauce sparingly and drink lots of water during the meal to help rinse it away from teeth.
  • Mac and Cheese – This is one of your better choices when it comes to side dishes, thanks to the calcium it contins. Calcium is good for your teeth. However, pasta is starchy, and starches turn into sugar inside your mouth. Mashed potatoes, another popular side dish, also are quite starchy. Peas, carrots, green beans, and other veggies are good choices. However, take it easy if they are swimming in sweet sauces.