There’s no doubt that the upcoming holidays will probably involve huge spreads of delicious food and treats. Yes, this time of year should involve lots of family and friend gatherings and at least a little indulgence. But, that doesn’t mean that your oral hygiene routine should go out the window.
With a little consideration, it is easy to enjoy everything that the holidays have to offer while still keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Here are 12 dental tips for the holidays to help you keep your smile as bright and clean as possible during this time of year:
Avoid Sugary Foods, Candies, & Drinks as Much as Possible
Of course, it’s the holidays and you’re going to want to enjoy one or two of the plentiful sugary treats that come with the season. But, keep in mind that sugar is the #1 enemy of your teeth. So, one of the most important dental tips to remember is, try to avoid sugary foods, candies, and drinks as much as possible. Think caramel apples, candy canes, brownies, pie, apple cider, eggnog, soda, etc. If you do indulge, brush your teeth as soon after as possible.
When it comes to wanting soda, one thing you can try is replacing it with sparkling water. You’ll still get the fizz without all the sugar. If you really want that soda though, drink it through a straw to help keep the sugar and acid off your teeth more.
You also want to be careful with sticky or hard candy because they can cause damage to fillings, crowns, and even your teeth themselves.
Remember, skipping the sugar more frequently will save you added time and money at the dentist’s office fixing a cavity or repairing any damage.
Snack on Teeth-Friendly Veggies and Fruit
Instead of filling up your plate at the holiday gathering with all the different kinds of sweet treats on offer, snack on crunchy veggies and fruit. Because of their high Vitamin A content, carrots and broccoli are both great for your teeth and can help strengthen your tooth enamel.
Fruit is also another great snacking option for your teeth. It will help satisfy your sweet tooth so you can avoid going for all the cookies, brownies, and other sugar-packed items.
Eat More Turkey
Though it may make you a little more sleepy, turkey is a holiday food that is great for your teeth. So, don’t be afraid to load up on it. Turkey is a great source of protein and phosphorus—both of which will help fight against tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Opt for the Clear or Light-Colored Beverages
The last thing you want to do, especially if you’ve invested time and money in whitening your teeth, is to stain them with red wine, cranberry juice, coffee, and other dark beverages during your holiday celebrations. These drinks are all susceptible to leaving your teeth darker than you’d like.
To combat this during the holidays, opt for clear or light-colored beverage options as much as possible. There are still some delicious options like champagne, white grape juice, and even flavored sparkling water. And you won’t have to worry about these staining your teeth.
Snack on Cheese in Between Your Adult Beverages
Chances are, adult beverages will be flowing this holiday season. But, alcohol-based drinks usually have a high acid content. These beverages, over time, will begin to wear away at the enamel of your teeth.
You may not know it, but cheese is very good at battling acid. And who doesn’t love cheese!? The alkaline in cheese will neutralize the acid in alcoholic beverages. Allowing you to still enjoy those drinks while also reducing the negative effect on your teeth.
Keep Cinnamon Gum on Hand
Cinnamic aldehyde is an essential oil that is one of the main ingredients found in cinnamon gum. And this ingredient does more than just give the gum its crisp, spicy flavor and causes your mouth to salivate. It actually also hunts down and destroys cavity-forming bacteria.
So, keeping cinnamon gum on hand while you’re out and about at your holiday festivities is an easy way to help minimize bacteria from forming on your teeth in between brushes. Plus, cinnamon will help keep your breath fresher and better smelling for longer.
Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Any Bottles, Packages, Etc.
You should never use your teeth to open or tear anything. This includes opening bottles, pulling out corks, tearing tape, opening packages or snack bags, etc. Not only can this potentially damage a tooth on the spot, but doing this frequently over time will weaken your tooth enamel.
This can cause even more fragile edges on your teeth and potentially lead to cracking or breaking, which can be an expensive fix.
Drink Plenty of Water Each Day
As you probably know, drinking water has many benefits. This is especially true for your body and teeth during the holidays. Drinking water regularly will help aid in digestion and help fill you up, reducing the chance of overindulging at your holiday events.
Specifically related to your mouth, water can freshen your breath by helping clean away freshly-formed bacteria. Thus, making keeping your teeth healthy in-between brushes even easier.
Keep a To-Go Teeth Cleaning Kit Handy
The holidays are usually a very hectic time of the year and may even involve some traveling. By the time you get in at night, there may be some instances where the last thing you have energy for is brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. One of the best things you can do for your teeth during this busy season is to keep a to-go teeth cleaning kit either in the car or in your purse/bag.
This should include floss, a mini toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Not only will this help you avoid walking around with food stuck between your teeth, but it will make caring for your teeth during this hectic time much easier.
Make Sure to Stick To Your Daily Oral Hygiene Routine
It is important to do everything you can to stick to your normal daily oral hygiene routine, especially during the holiday season. With an increased level of sugar, snacking, and indulging during this time, the importance of properly cleaning your teeth is amplified.
You should be brushing twice each day for two minutes at a time (preferably with an electric toothbrush), flossing daily, and rinsing with fluoride mouthwash. Not only will your teeth and gums thank you, but it’ll save you time and money from not having to visit your dentist as frequently.
Go Ahead and Schedule Your Post-Holiday Checkup & Cleaning
As we’ve mentioned several times above, the holiday season will more than likely be hectic for you. Plus, there will inevitably be times here and there that you won’t floss or brush or do the other things that help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
So, to help combat both of these things, go ahead and schedule your post-holiday checkup and cleaning now. Then as soon as the holidays are over, you’ll be confident knowing that you’ll be going into the new year doing everything you can to help keep your mouth clean, cavity-free, and healthy.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
The holidays can also mean temporarily different hours for your dentist, doctor, etc. So, you want to be prepared just in case something happens, like a cracked or broken tooth, lost filling, or even knocking out a tooth.
If your dentist’s office is going to be closed at all during the holidays, ask your dentist for a referral in case of any dental emergencies. You should have the name and location of the nearest emergency dental clinic you can go to.
Make sure to have any dental emergencies treated ASAP to avoid a minor issue turning into a much larger (and more costly) problem.
It’s Easy to Keep Your Mouth Happy Through the Holidays
By following these 12 dental tips for the holidays, you can enjoy the festivities that the season brings while also keeping your mouth healthy and happy. You don’t have to choose one or the other. As you can see, there are a variety of easy things you can do to help keep your teeth and gums in good shape.
Our team at Radomile Family Dental Care is here to help you and your family maintain a healthy and beautiful smile, no matter the time of year!
Contact our office today with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.