07 Dec 2017 Keeping Your Smile Healthy for the Holidays
It’s that magical time of year—Christmas! Just think of it— Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, candy canes, and gingerbread houses. You may not consider Christmas to be as “sugary” of a holiday as Halloween. In fact, your guard may be down. But Christmas can eat away teeth.
Many holiday traditions involve food, especially treats. Parties and other holiday events start at Thanksgiving and don’t end until after New Year’s Day. That’s six weeks of celebrating vs. Halloween’s one day! Many people wake up January 2 and don’t feel well. They haven’t made healthy choices over the holidays and now have to face the consequences. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
A few conscious decisions made now can help you to not only enjoy the holidays but to enjoy how your body and mouth feel well into the new year. Here are some tips to help you enjoy this fun time of the year:
- 1. Don’t be like Buddy the Elf from the movie, The Elf. In the movie, Buddy says, “Elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.” Instead, try to add in healthy food whenever possible, or at least strive for balance. You don’t have to eliminate all sugar but if your teeth are being coated with it all day long, plaque will form on your teeth. It will happen. Plaque that is not brushed off will start to eat away at your teeth’s enamel, eventually causing cavities.
- 2. Stick to your routine. If you have brushed your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day all year long, keep it up in December. Sometimes routines are forgotten around the holidays because we get too busy or too tired. A few minutes of brushing is worth not having a cavity later.
- 3. Don’t neglect dental work. If you are due for a cleaning or a filling, make the appointment, get it on your calendar, and go! Your teeth and mouth will feel better when cleaned. A good cleaning can help you avoid some irritation and inflammation. If a filling is needed, your mouth will feel healthier having it done, rather than letting it fester and grow bigger.
- 4. Drink water. At this time of year, it’s tempting to drink all kinds of festive holiday drinks—egg nog, Christmas slush, and Sprite, just to name a few—but remember water. Water can give you energy to face the holiday fun and stress and is great for teeth. If you are eating sugary food and you aren’t anywhere near a toothbrush, you can rinse food particles away from teeth with water. Something as simple as a drink of water can make your mouth healthier.
- 5. Avoid constant snacking. Instead, eat treats after a meal. Eating a meal causes more saliva production in your mouth. It will help to cancel out acid produced by the mouth’s bacteria, decreasing the amount of damage done to teeth.