A lot of people are concerned about the potential for an expanding waistline during the holiday season. Still, another aspect of our health that can be affected by holiday eating habits are our teeth. From the Christmas cookies to the eggnog and everything in between, the holiday season can be rough on our teeth and gums. To help counter this, use these four tips for protecting your mouth and staying cavity-free throughout the holiday season.
Timing is Everything
Sugars and bacteria can do the most damage to our teeth when they are allowed to sit on the surface of our teeth undisturbed for hours on end. Meals and drinking water both help to remove sugars and food particles from our teeth surfaces, which is why sugary sweets are best eaten with a meal or while drinking water. Eating sticky, sugary foods on their own means they can stick on the surface of our teeth and breakdown our enamel uninterrupted. Try to eat sweets with a meal, drink plenty of water or brush your teeth after snacking in order to protect your teeth.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can damage your gums, but over-drinking can dehydrate our bodies, and dehydration can limit the amount of saliva we produce. Saliva has anti-bacterial and acid-neutralization properties, so if your mouth can’t produce the normal amount of saliva, bacteria will have an easier time breaking down your teeth. If you’re going to drink alcohol this holiday season, also be sure to drink plenty of water to help your body stay hydrated.
Beware Hard Candies
Hard candies are usually packed with sugars, so aside from adding plenty of cavity-causing sugars to enter your mouth, they can also lead to chipped teeth or cracked crowns if we try to bite into them. Consider swapping out the hard holiday candies for a softer, less sugar-packed alternative. If you’re going to indulge in hard candies, have some water handy and resist the urge to bite into them.
Daily Dental Habits
Now, we’re not going to sit here and say you need to avoid all the holiday candies, cookies, and chocolates, but if you are going to indulge, make it an extra point to practice good dental habits. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once, as this will help keep the surfaces and space between your teeth clean. Indulging in holiday foods helps make the season more enjoyable, but you also need to commit to a dental care plan throughout the season.
If you’re due for a semi-annual checkup, try to schedule the appointment if you have some vacation days before the end of the year! Contact our team to get on the calendar.