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(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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Your Thanksgiving Dinner Ranked by Tooth-Friendliness

Posted by Editor in , , on November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving is a time of family, friends, and a lot of foodie treats. How healthy is the traditional Thanksgiving meal for your teeth? We’ve ranked the dishes based largely on acidity level to see what kind of battle your enamel is in store for. First, consider what makes a food “acidic.” Foods have varying degrees of acidity and alkalinity, both measured by pH levels. The pH chart ranges from 0 – 14. If a food has a pH level of 7.0 or above, it’s alkaline (and not harmful to the enamel on your teeth). Anything below 7.0 is considered acidic, and the lower the number the more harmful it is to your teeth.

You’ve likely seen the toothpaste commercial that warns, “Once your enamel’s gone, it’s gone for good.” That’s true. Enamel is the outer, white(ish), protective layer of your teeth. When it gets thin, often caused by acidic foods, teeth can become sensitive to hot/cold and appear more yellow.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid acidity in food altogether, and doing so would lead to a very boring life. However, it’s a good idea to know where acidity levels stand in your favorite holiday foods.

  1. Cranberry sauce. This staple dish averages about 2.5 on the pH scale, which is very acidic. However, it depends on preparation. Avoiding the addition of lemon and limiting added sugar can help a great deal.
  2. Salad dressing. There are so many options for dressings that you can really cherry pick a less acidic version. Anything with citrus (like a vinaigrette) is going to be highly acidic. A better option is to dress salads with olive oil and include plenty of low-acidity ingredients.
  3. Cream of mushroom soup. Foundational for green bean casserole, the average canned cream of mushroom soup has an acidity level of around 6.2. It’s almost alkaline, but not quite, making it a relatively safe food.
  4. The star of the meal is unfortunately an “acid meat.” Turkey, along with duck, chicken and fish, has relatively less fat and therefore requires less acid in the body. However, meat is generally one of the toughest things for your stomach to digest. “Acid meat” requires more acid in the body, while red meats require more. Limiting meat intake is a good bet, but if you have to have turkey keep the portions light.
  5. Green beans. The other necessity in the casserole is considered a highly alkaline food, so it’s a safe bet. Add more beans rather than mushroom soup for a less acidic dish.

Which dishes are your family’s favorites, and how can you make them less acidic?