With Thanksgiving and Christmas nearly here, there are a lot of holiday treats to be looking forward to! But before you get too carried away with the festivities, remember that all the pie, cookies and other treats that are served around this time of year contain a lot of sugar that could wreak havoc with your smile. If you want to save your pearly whites for the new year, follow these 6 holiday dental hygiene tips from a dentist.
1. Make Your Dental Care a Priority
The holidays are busy for everyone, but you should always make time for brushing and flossing at least twice day. You’ll likely find it easier to remember your routine if your brush and floss in the morning and at bedtime.
2. Avoid Hard Candy and Chewy Treats
There are plenty of sugary holiday snacks you need to be careful around, but you should consider avoiding hard candies like peppermints and chewy treats like caramel altogether. Chewy treats will stick to your teeth, and hard candy will leave sugar residue behind. Both will make you more likely to suffer from cavities.
3. Use a Nutcracker, Not Your Teeth
If you have a nut to crack, use an appropriate tool to open. Biting down on nut shells to remove them is a good way to crack teeth, which in turn can lead to an emergency trip to your dentist.
4. Do Not Overdo It with the Sugar
It’s okay to enjoy a popcorn ball or a gingerbread cookie now and again, but you should avoid eating too many treats at once. The best approach is to only eat one dessert at a time, then brush your teeth afterwards. This way, you can limit the amount of sugar that your teeth are exposed to.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Many holiday beverages such as punch, wine, and hot chocolate can damage your teeth thanks to their own acidity or high sugar content. Whenever you enjoy a festive drink, avoid swishing it around in your mouth, and take a sip of water once you’re done. The water will help rinse sugar and other potentially harmful substances out of your mouth.
6. Be Aware of Your Stress
Anxiety levels tend to be high around the holidays, and it can cause many people to grind or clench their teeth, resulting in headaches or a chipped smile. Find ways to keep your anxiety under control; in the meantime, you can talk to your dentist about wearing a custom mouth guard while you’re asleep.
By taking the proper precautions, you can prevent dental damage from ruining your holiday. You won’t have to interrupt the fun to ask, “Where’s an emergency dentist near me?”
About the Author
Dr. Benjamin Naylor was inspired by his orthodontist while in high school to pursue a career in dentistry. He enjoys the opportunity to meet with many different patients and help them overcome a variety of dental challenges. At his Springfield practice, Mountain Stream Dental, he can perform a preventive examination and cleaning that will prepare your teeth for the holidays. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (541) 345-5363.