Protect Your Smile On Thanksgiving

thanksgiving cavities

Next week, many of will be enjoying a slightly smaller Thanksgiving dinner than usual. However, despite the changes to our usual holiday routine, we will still be indulging in our sugary and starch-filled favorites. In today’s blog, your Des Moines, IA, dentist will explain what we can do to enjoy our favorite dishes without increasing the risk of cavities.

The Link Between Our Holiday Favorites and Cavities

Sugar is a main ingredient in a host of holiday favorites, from a variety of pies and cakes, to cranberry sauce and sweet potato dishes. Starch meanwhile is often found in items such as yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and breaded sides. These two ingredients can easily become stuck between teeth or cling to them. Over time, bacteria will then break down the particles, which not only elevates oral acidity, but also coats the teeth in plaque buildup. This buildup then weakens enamel with time, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Safeguarding Your Smile at Mealtime

To help protect your smile, we suggest limiting the number of items you add to your plate that are high in sugar and starch. Drink a glass of water too, as this helps cleanse the smile as you eat. Adding a few fresh fruits and veggies, such as carrots, broccoli, and apples, is beneficial too, as they help scrub away plaque. You could also excuse yourself just after your meal to go and floss thoroughly in between each and every tooth.

Brushing and Flossing

Continuing to practice good oral hygiene during the holidays is very beneficial too. We suggest you brush your twice a day for about two minutes each session. A toothpaste with fluoride is helpful too, as this makes the outer enamel stronger. Before bed at night you should always floss as well. These actions benefits people of all ages, from kids to adults!

Dental Cleanings

Before the year comes to a close, we suggest scheduling a visit for a cleaning. A dental cleaning means we remove all plaque and tartar to help limit the risk of bad breath, teeth stains, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Scheduling one now means starting the holiday season with a healthier smile, and using your remaining 2020 dental insurance benefits before they expire!


To stay safe during the pandemic, be sure you wear your mask when around others or out and about, and wash your hands frequently. Limit gathering sizes, and find ways to safely visit with older family members, such as via Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.


We want to make sure our patients continue to enjoy strong, healthy smiles. To learn more about our approach to preventive dentistry, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.