7 Oral Health Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Holiday Season
By General Dentist Ekta Desai
This holiday season, like any other, is a time to reconnect with family, celebrate successes, and look forward to the new year.
Between holiday dinners, Friendsgivings, and family game nights, it’s important to remember to take care of your teeth. We look forward to eating great food, and we should. But we should also be conscious of the effect it has on our bodies.
It can be easy to get distracted with all the celebrations but it’s important to be careful with eating and making sure to still take care of your oral health. Here are some quick things to consider this holiday season.
Avoid eating hard candies if possible. Hard candies can be dangerous and put you at risk for fracturing your teeth, especially if you bite into them. Additionally, if left in the mouth for a long period of time, the sugar exposure can lead to increased risk of cavities.
- Soda and alcohol can also be harmful to the teeth. High in sugar and acid, which can erode the enamel easily. Alcohol can lead to decay and gum disease. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
- There are some foods that can be healthy over the holidays for your mouth, like cheese! Cheese contains cavity-fighting agents as well as phosphates and calcium that help strengthen teeth and balance the pH levels in the mouth.
- Fruits and veggies should be incorporated into the holiday diet. Not only are they healthy, they also help scrub away plaque and contain less sugar than candies/sweets.
- Try to remember not to snack throughout the day, eat meals so that your enamel has plenty of time to remineralize between meals. Eat sweets with meals instead of after so that the saliva can wash away the sugars but work to limit foods with high levels of starch such as cookies and cakes.
- Brush and floss after eating, especially after sugary treats/beverages. Just remember to wait at least 30 minutes before doing to not wear away enamel.
- Make sure to schedule a dental visit for you and/or your children during their winter break so that teeth can be examined and cleaned just in time for the holidays.
Foods to Avoid
An acquired taste that is loved and hated by many, eggnog has a very high sugar content, making your teeth to fall in the latter category. Alcohol is not great for your teeth either, although drinking in moderation or on occasion won't destroy your oral health. If you love eggnog and can't part with it this holiday season, or are looking forward to cheerful libations, be sure to care for your teeth by brushing twice a day and especially before bed to prevent sugar from creating plaque build-up.
If you have eaten dried fruit before, you know just how sticky it can be. The fruit sticking to the teeth provides nourishment for sticky bacteria and plaque build-up, leading to a greater risk in cavities.
Essentially entirely sugar, candy canes are made up of sucrose (table sugar) and contain high fructose corn syrup. While they are delicious in moderation, they are very bad for your teeth. Not only do they promote cavities, but they can cause damage to your teeth from biting into the hard candy.
Stuffing and other starchy foods
Despite being little more than old bread and some herbs, stuffing is a holiday favorite. Whether it’s served as a side dish or cooked inside the turkey, it’s bound to make an appearance at Thanksgiving dinner. Even though it’s not particularly high in sugar, stuffing is surprisingly bad for your teeth. The stuffing creates a bacterium that makes plaque more likely to stick to your teeth and ultimately increases the risk for cavities.
Be sure to enjoy this holiday season surrounded by friends and family! Consider bringing a portable toothbrush and floss with you, to make sure you can keep your smile looking great.
Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once per day will make it easy to stay on top of your oral hygiene. Be sure to schedule your routine cleaning using the button below or call us with any questions or concerns you may have. We are always happy to help and be a resource to you!