Holiday Dental Care

Keeping Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

No matter what holiday you may be celebrating – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule or Festivus, you’ll want to ensure that your teeth are kept in the best condition throughout this festive season! Keeping your smile healthy and bright this time of year requires, even more, diligence than usual … and being extra careful about the foods and drinks that can cause problems for teeth and gums.

Here are 7 Can Dos and 7 Don’t Dos to get keep you smiling through the holidays:

 

Don’t Dos

  1. Beware of candy canes and other hard candies. Readily available during the holidays, these candies can crack your teeth if you bite down wrong. Better to choose the carrots that you usually leave for Rudolph than to take a chance on hard candies. If you must eat them, be sure to let them dissolve in your mouth to prevent damage to your teeth.
  2. Don’t drink soda, which is loaded with sugar.  Or at the very least, drink soda with a straw to avoid depositing the acid in sugar (ascorbic acid) onto your teeth.  Choose a bubbly fizzy water (club soda) instead for a festive drink. If you opt for wine, select white instead of red wine, which can stain your teeth. To lessen the effect of red wine on your teeth, drink it with food and brush and rinse afterward.
  3. Mom always told us, “Don’t use your teeth!”  Your teeth shouldn’t be used to cut ribbon or tape or to try to open packages. To avoid chipping or even breaking a tooth, use a scissor or box cutter instead. Another thing your teeth should not be used for is to crack open nuts.The hard surface of nutshells can cause serious tooth or gum damage. It’s tempting to open pistachio nuts with your front teeth, but don’t do it! Use the side of a cheese spreader – your teeth will thank you.
  4. Don’t chew on ice cubes. Crunching on ice can lead to cracked or chipped teeth. Consider, too, that ice can cause discomfort or pain for sensitive teeth.
  5. Say “No, thank you” to chewy treats that can harm your teeth with a sticky residue that clings to enamel and encourages tooth decay. Worse yet, candies like caramels and taffy can yank out dental fillings.
  6. Grazing is more tempting than ever during the holidays. There are often spreads of foods left out all day or evening. Your teeth are at greater risk when you graze because we don’t have the opportunity to brush the teeth adequately between “noshes.”
  7. Don’t forget your dentist. Not keeping a dental appointment because the holidays are a busy time is no excuse. If you are due for a dental cleaning or you need work done, see your dentist. You may just avoid having a dental problem at the worst time if you don’t.

 

Can Dos

  1. Eat more turkey! A great source of phosphorus and protein, turkey can help keep your teeth strong and healthy.
  2. Eat more vegetables! Pass up the plates of cookies and add extra veggies to your dish. Broccoli, celery, peppers, and tomatoes contain Vitamin A, which strengthens tooth enamel and are often found on crudité trays.
  3. Give yourself and loved ones a gift of a new toothbrush. We typically don’t replace toothbrushes as often as we should, so a new one for the holidays makes sense!
  4. Help yourself to more cheese, especially if you are drinking alcoholic drinks. The pH balancing effects will help neutralize the acid that can be found in “adult” beverages and the calcium is great for your teeth and overall health.
  5. Feast on fruit instead of sugary desserts. If entertaining, prepare a tray of cut fruits that include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, melon, mango, kiwi, bananas, apples, or watermelon. Your dieting friends will be grateful.
  6. Drink water to hydrate and energize your body during the hectic holidays. Water helps your teeth by rinsing off any residue from food or acidic beverages.
  7. Get into the spirit! When you brush your teeth, you should spend 30 seconds on each section of your mouth for a total of at least two minutes. This is easier to do if you hum a few verses of your favorite holiday song while you brush. Hum an encore to be sure you brush your tongue and floss as well!

It seems as though holiday events are centered around food and drink, but focusing on the meaning of the holiday will help protect your teeth and keep off extra pounds in the bargain.

Our team at Dental Health Partners wishes you and your families a safe, happy and healthy holiday!

 

 

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