In just four days, Americans will be feasting in historical fashion on Thanksgiving’s traditional spread. In addition to that spread, there may be snacks ahead of time and desserts after and most of them will be loaded with our oral bacteria’s own favorite: sugar. Not only does sugar pose a threat to our teeth and gums, but other factors do as well. Below are six of the worst Thanksgiving desserts for your teeth.
Of all the pies on the dessert menu for Thanksgiving, pecan is the worst for your teeth. The stickiness of the corn syrup that makes up the bulk of this treat clings to your teeth as you eat it, promoting plaque build-up and tooth decay.
Like pecan pie, the caramel and popcorn kernels that make up popcorn balls stick in your teeth, leaving a harder-to-remove feast for oral bacteria. Not only that, but many people complain of discomfort when kernels wedge between teeth. No one wants that problem when they should be celebrating.
Chewy or super sticky candies are the worst for teeth, especially if you have temporary teeth, denture or crowns. Toffees and fudges, as well as caramel filled or coated sweets can remove teeth or fillings, or damage orthodontic devices such as braces. These also tend to get stuck in tight to reach places in the teeth and stay there for a while, encouraging tooth decay and gingivitis.
Candy canes pose a triple threat to the health of our teeth when consumed. In addition to the high sugar content, the act of sucking on them prolongs sugar exposure, leaving a sticky coating on your teeth and gums for oral bacteria to transfigure into plaque. Crunching their hard pieces can fracture tooth structures or scratch the enamel and either one can open your teeth up to internal decay or sensitivity. Also, when you bite on candy canes, the small pieces you create can easily wedge between teeth and accelerate the tooth decay process.
If you’re family opts for candied yams rather than sweet potato casserole, beware! This unhealthy take on the traditional casserole is an assault on your mouth. Most recipes call for as much as 6 cups of white sugar, and have 35-38 grams per serving. That translates into well over the recommended daily sugar intake. The fiber and vitamins in the yams don’t justify the indulgence.
Okay, okay, technically this isn’t a true dessert, but many people enjoy fruity or mixed drinks during thanksgiving and they can be sugar-laced bombs for your teeth. Wines not only stain your teeth, but also offer natural sugars to your oral bacteria. Likewise, mixed drinks that include sugar, fancy bottled flavorings, caramel or chocolate syrups, or other dairy products such as milk or cream are going to flood your mouth with sugar and coat your teeth with it.
Don’t Wait for Dessert
We’re not saying have dessert first, but eating your sweets with the main course rather afterward is a great alternative to the tradition. By mixing the sweets in with the savory items on your menu, the meal is more balanced. The nutrients found in meat and vegetables will neutralize sugars and acids of sweets, and the fiber will keep them from sticking to your teeth and producing plaque.