The holiday season is upon us, and with that comes travelling to see family, gift giving, and the overindulgence of food and drinks. While this is a special time of year, it can also be problematic to your dental health.
Sugary foods and drinks like soda and desserts can cause damage to your teeth, so it’s important to limit the consumption of these foods and keep extra close attention to your oral hygiene. Be sure to follow the steps below to ensure you are taking good care of your mouth this holiday season.
Excessive eating and drinking is typically normal during the holidays, which calls for more brushing in order to rid your mouth of food particles and bacteria. Be sure to brush your tongue as well, as the tongue can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Keep up on your flossing regimen, especially during the holiday season. Again, you’ll likely be consuming more food than you normally would, so be sure to floss everyday in order to keep your mouth as clean as possible.
When on the go, keep a floss pick handy. Floss picks eliminate the hassle of wrapping the string around your fingers by holding the floss between two plastic arms. This allows you to quickly pick food particles and bacteria out of your mouth after you eat.
Hydration is key, especially when you’re at dinners and parties with alcohol involved. Drink water throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty, to ensure you are hydrated when out with friends and family. You also may be less inclined to drink water when you are cold, but combat this by drinking room temperature water rather than cold water. Water also increases saliva production so your mouth can naturally wash away food particles and bacteria.
Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools
While it may be tempting to open a gift or package with your teeth, please don’t do so. Using your teeth for tearing things other than food can damage your teeth, causing fractures or chips. Instead, take the extra few seconds to reach for a pair of scissors or a box-cutter, as it is much safer and more effective.
Be Wary Of What You Eat And Drink
There will be a wide variety of food and drinks to choose from, so it’s important to understand the good and bad. Some foods and drinks that are considered good for your oral health are listed below:
- Cheese: Dairy products are packed with calcium that build strong bones and teeth. In addition to this fact, cheese also has the added bonus of balancing the pH level in your mouth, which works against harmful acids that build up into plaque. Eating cheese is recommended for oral health and should not be avoided when exploring the snack table.
- Green, leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins and calcium that help replenish damaged enamel. The enamel is important for oral health because it’s the first layer of protection for your teeth.
- Cranberries: Cranberries contain polyphenols that prevent plaque from forming on your teeth. While this fruit can be beneficial to oral health, be sure to watch out for sugar content, as some store bought and homemade cranberry sauces have loads of sugar.
- Water: Remaining hydrated is very important for your body and oral health. You don’t have to completely disregard other drinks – it’s okay to have a few other drinks here and there. But your primary drink should be water in order to ensure you are hydrated while out and about.
Unfortunately, you are going to be tempted with food and drinks that are not so great for your oral health. These food and drinks are either high in sugar content or have a hard consistency that can cause damage to your teeth if you are not careful.
- Shelled nuts: Most nutshells are strong enough to crack or fracture your teeth. Be sure to use caution when cracking nuts like pistachios or peanuts, and try to avoid shelled nuts if at all possible.
- Bones: If consuming meat with bones (like chicken wings), proceed with caution, as biting hard into a chicken bone could result in a cracked tooth.
- Olive/cherry pits: If the snack table offers olives or cherries, the best practice is to carefully bite into them, as they are more than likely going to have seeds.
- Sugary food and drinks: You are most likely going to have more sugary foods and drinks during the holiday season than normal. With pie, cookies, soda, and wine available, it can be hard to refrain from such a tempting lineup. Your best bet is to limit consumption and rinse your mouth with water to wash away any extra food particles.
Have a Checkup Before The Holidays
Visiting the dentist before the end of the year can benefit you in a number of ways. If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, this is a perfect opportunity to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy. This will give you peace of mind this holiday season knowing your teeth are healthy and strong enough to enjoy a holiday feast.
Also, if you have dental benefits, they more than likely end and turn over at the end of the year. Be sure to schedule a checkup or cleaning before the end of the year to maximize your benefits.
Travel With A Dental Kit
Purchasing a dental travel kit or making your own can be extremely beneficial when in a pinch. The items listed below are crucial in ensuring your oral hygiene is in top form when on the go.
- Toothbrush: A travel brush is a great way to reduce food particles in your mouth by brushing your teeth periodically throughout the day.
- Mouthwash: Mouthwash is a quick way to freshen up your breath before going to that next party. Be sure to get alcohol-free mouthwash, as regular mouthwash contains excessive alcohol that tends to dry out the mouth, promoting bacterial growth.
- Floss/floss picks: It’s not a bad idea to floss after a meal, as food particles tend to get stuck in between spots where your toothbrush cannot reach.
- Gum: Use teeth whitening gum as an added bonus for another quick way to freshen up your mouth in a pinch.
How We Can Help
Feel free to contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment before the end of the year or have any questions regarding your oral health. We will do all we can to make sure your mouth is healthy and strong to take on this holiday season.