11 Dental Tips for the Holidays
Nov 4, 2021
The holidays are coming up and that means plenty of holiday food dishes and treats will be available. Thanksgiving is especially known for its enormous family dinner, but Christmas and Hanukkah are also major food holidays, with traditional meals and desserts as well as holiday-themed treats. With all of the delicious food comes the risk of dental problems. Sugar in particular can encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of cavities.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk of cavities and other dental problems during the holidays.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water can help you to stay hydrated while staying away from drinks like soda, coffee, and wine that might stain your teeth. Water can also rinse away sugars, acids, and food particles that may be lingering from your last meal or snack.
Avoid Sugary Snacks
For some, sugary snacks are one of the best parts of the holidays. However, sugar is one of the worst substances for our teeth. Sugary snacks can encourage the growth of bacteria that can cause cavities. If you’d like to indulge in holiday snacking, it’s better to snack on nuts, crackers, and cheese than on chocolate and other desserts.
Don’t Snack All Day
For many, Thanksgiving and other holidays are all about snacking throughout the day before the big meal in the evening. However, the act of snacking throughout the day regularly inundates your teeth with sugars and other foreign materials that your body must try to break down. The acids released during this process attack your teeth, which becomes much worse when you are continuously snacking instead of just eating meals.
Eat the Right Foods
Foods like vegetables, fruit, dairy products, nuts, and lean meats provide nutrients that are important for strong, healthy teeth. Cheese has actually been shown to lower the pH level of the mouth, which provides the teeth with some protection by neutralizing acids that could harm the teeth. Crunchy foods like apples and carrots can also help to clear some stuck-on debris away from the teeth.
Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss
With the hustle of the holidays, it’s very tempting to just collapse into bed at night without brushing and flossing. However, waking up with an awful taste is not only gross, it can undermine your dental health quickly. Brushing every morning and night and flossing often, no matter where you travel or how hectic the days get can help you to feel better about your self-care while maintaining your smile.
Don’t Open Bottles with Your Teeth
You’ve most likely seen someone on TikTok or YouTube opening a bottle with their teeth. This may look cool, but it’s very dangerous for your teeth. The chances of cracking a tooth are very high. Even if you don’t try to open bottles of wine or other beverages with your teeth, opening anything with your teeth isn’t a good idea. Tearing something that isn’t food with your teeth risks wearing down your enamel, which is what protects your teeth from cavities.
Chew Cinnamon-Flavored Gum
If you want something festive, but want to avoid sugar and snacking, cinnamon-flavored gum is a good choice. The gum itself can help to encourage saliva production, which in turn helps to protect your teeth from decay. Cinnamon gum in particular contains cinnamaldehyde, which is what gives cinnamon its characteristic color and taste. Cinnamaldehyde can help to destroy the bacteria that can cause cavities. As an added bonus, it can make your breath smell nice.
Drink Lighter Beverages
If you’ve invested time and money into whitening your teeth, then you won’t want to undo all of that hard work with a few drinks during the holidays. Lighter-colored beverages can help you to maintain your bright white smile. Darker drinks like red wine can stain your teeth instead, so you should avoid them.
Eat Cheese with Alcohol
If you’re going to drink alcohol, you should eat some cheese with it. This is because alcoholic beverages are acidic, which can eat away at your enamel. Cheese can help to counteract the effects of the acid in alcohol because it’s alkaline.
Take a Dental Kit with You
Of course, you’d pack a toothbrush and floss when traveling for the holidays. But you should also bring a dental kit with you when you go to parties, even if they’re only going to last the evening. Sure, you’ll be home in time to brush your teeth before bed. But bringing everything you’ll need to clean your teeth while at the party can help you to address any dental needs that may arise.
Book a Dentist Appointment for Right After the Holidays
Many dentists book up in advance. Since the holidays may result in dental problems, it’s a good idea to have an appointment booked for right after they’re over. Depending on how quickly your dentist books up, you’ll want to plan well in advance and book a dental appointment for early January.
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