The holidays are finally here! And while this season is certainly a time to relax and indulge in the festivities, it’s also a time in which your dental health is most at risk. Candy canes, nuts, sugary drinks, alcohol, and desserts are aplenty, but they can also take their toll on your teeth. Regardless of how jolly you plan to be this year, it’s critical to pay attention to your teeth. Today we’ll discuss 6 dental tips to keep your smile healthy and bright during the holiday season.
1. Be Careful of the Candy Canes
Who doesn’t love a good hard candy during the holidays? We are particularly partial to peppermint candy canes, but they can chip your teeth if you bite down too hard. As such, if you have any concerns about your teeth, it might be best to avoid anything that may cause tooth fracture or any other kind of damage (including using your teeth as a tool to open difficult packages). Soft candies or candies that dissolve in your mouth will be easier on your teeth as long as you don’t forget to properly brush and floss your teeth afterward.
2. Avoid Sodas and Red Wine
Holiday or not, sodas will always be bad for your teeth, as will any dark sugar-induced beverage (including coffee and tea). If you want to indulge at your next holiday party, try a bubbly, fizzy water instead. Or, if you absolutely must have a soda, drink with a straw to prevent the liquids from staining your teeth.
On a similar note, red wine can also stain your teeth. So, if you enjoy drinking a nice red, do so with a meal to limit the effects on your teeth; or drink white wine.
3. Choose Cheese
If you do plan to drink a little bubbly over the holidays, be sure to snack on some cheese too. While also delicious, cheese serves three purposes.
- Cheese cleans your teeth as you eat it.
- The pH neutralizing effects help balance the acid that it is present in wine and other acidic drinks
- The calcium in cheese is excellent for your dental health.
4. Eat More Turkey
Looking for a holiday meal that your teeth will love? Then eat more turkey! Turkey is a great source of phosphorus and protein, both of which can help your body fight tooth decay and keep your smile healthy and strong this Christmas.
5. Fill Up On Fruits and Veggies
You can count on most holiday hosts to offer a tray of delicious Christmas cookies and brownies. Try to resist! Rather, fill your plate with fruits and veggies. Raw broccoli and carrots are great for your teeth because they’re loaded with Vitamin A which strengthens your enamel. If they’re good enough for the reindeer, to be sure they’re good enough for you. Have a sweet tooth? We don’t suggest that you completely skip dessert. However, stick with a single dish and then finish off with a big plate of fruit to satisfy your craving.
6. Don’t Graze
Another thing you can expect during the holidays is tables full of food so that guests can eat at their leisure. We love a good snack as much as the next person, but grazing all day can put your teeth at greater risk for decay. Exercise some self-control and limit your munching to mealtimes. Or, if you don’t want to give up the grazing, you might want to keep some xlitol gum handy to clean away the food from your teeth in between brushing.
7. Brush Your Teeth!
Much like you’d do any other day, we recommend that you brush your teeth after a holiday meal or at least use mouthwash to rinse your teeth of any of the sugary drinks or treats you may be indulging in. If you want to add a little holiday flair to your brushing, hum a few verses and choruses of your favorite holiday tune while you brush and you’ll likely brush long enough to clean your teeth, gums, and tongue. Just remember to pack a small toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash in your bag before you leave home.
Follow these tips for a healthy holiday smile. Merry Christmas from the office of Katherine E. Garrett.
And if you are headed out of town this next few weeks and need to know what to do in case of a dental emergency? See our previous post on what to do when you have a dental issue away from home. Learn more about the complete list of services offered by Dr. Garrett by calling our office and scheduling a new patient appointment. We’d love to make your family part of ours!