The holiday season has arrived, and that doesn’t just mean hearing Christmas songs everywhere you go or stressing about finding the perfect gift for all your loved ones…
It means constant confrontation with unhealthy foods, seeing candy everywhere you look and attending party after party that tempts you to indulge. Furthermore, because this time of year is so busy for most people, good oral care habits can easily fall by the wayside.
So, as you head into the holidays, keep these smart teeth tips in mind…
1. Take Your Hygiene with You
It’s always a good idea to keep a mini travel toothbrush and floss with you for on-the-go hygiene, but it’s an especially good idea during the holidays. That way you can do a little damage control after a particularly acidic or sweet meal and you’ll be ready just in case you end up crashing at a friend or family member’s house unexpectedly after a little too much vino.
2. Don’t Go Grazing
Even we dental professionals can’t entirely stay away from sweets around the holidays (we’re human for gosh sakes!), but we do try to limit our consumption of foods that are bad for our teeth to just once right after a meal. Resist the temptation to graze on treats every so often as this only increases the time that bacteria have to damage to your pearly whites. Instead, have your whole treat at once and then rinse or brush afterwards.
3. No Midnight Snacks
One of our body’s natural defenses against tooth decay is saliva, but because we produce less saliva when we sleep, you should avoid eating right before. Stop at least an hour before turning in, brush and floss and then no more to eat or drink until morning.
4. Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
No matter how convenient it seems in the moment, never use your teeth as tools. When you’re decorating, wrapping presents, opening packages or cracking nuts and find that your hands just won’t do the job, go grab the appropriate tool instead of using your teeth.
5. Booze Wisely
The fact is that no alcoholic drink is harmless to your teeth, but if you are looking to choose the one that does the least damage, go for a light beer. And any time you drink, be sure to also have a glass of water nearby and take occasional sips that you swish around in your mouth before swallowing.
6. Do Enjoy…
As you peruse the food table at the many holiday parties you attend, here are the foods you should choose for the health of your teeth: cheese, broccoli, strawberries, cucumber, carrots, turkey, nuts and dark chocolate.
7. Steer Clear of…
And here are the foods you should avoid: candy canes, soda, chips, crackers, egg nog, popcorn, dried fruit and cookies.
8. Make a January Dentist Appointment
Start the new year off right by scheduling a cleaning in January. This is a great time to check in on your dental health, have your teeth professionally cleaned and make sure there are no issues that will plague you in 2016.