It can be challenging to keep your teeth in good condition through holidays and special events, especially when there are big meals involved. Here are a few tips to protect your teeth:
1. Your teeth are not a multi-tool!
Unless you’re eating, your teeth are likely not the right tool for the job.
The holidays can be tiring, and it can be tempting to take the easy way out and use your teeth for unusual jobs such as unwrapping presents or shelling nuts. Unfortunately, this can end in chipped, or cracked, lots of pain, and an emergency trip to your dentist. Use the right tool for the job – make sure you leave a nutcracker next to nut platters, and keep a pair of scissors handy when it’s time to open gifts!
2. Be Present. Choose to indulge mindfully.
We know that we should avoid overdoing it with candy and sweet treats, but it can be nearly impossible to avoid holiday treats altogether. Be aware that not all candies are equal: hard candies (and nuts) can cause broken and chipped teeth, avoid biting into them! Sticky snacks, even dried fruit, tend to stick on the teeth longer than other foods. This can contribute to plaque build-up and cavities. Some sticky snacks, such as taffy, can even “pull” out restorations. Eat these treats mindfully. Pay attention to what you’re eating; you’ll enjoy it more, and you’ll be more cautious and less likely to damage your dental work. Finally, remember to rinse, brush and floss after treats!
3. The best time to indulge?
There’s a reason why dessert is served right after dinner! Eating sweets or sugary foods at mealtime makes a difference. Since saliva production increases during meals, the extra saliva helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria and rinses away food particles. However, don’t count on saliva alone! You still should brush your teeth after eating!
4. Pack a toothbrush
Home for a holiday? Going to a party? Even if you’re not going to stay somewhere overnight, you should bring your toothbrush and some dental floss along. It’s important to clean your teeth after holiday meals and sweet treats to avoid tooth decay. And don’t forget to book your post-holiday dental check-up if you’re due!
5. Just one glass of holiday cheer
In addition to other health issues created by over drinking, too much alcohol can dry out your mouth and make you dehydrated. Depending on your drink of choice, that alcohol may also have a high sugar content. Remember to drink responsibly; try to drink water along with your drinks.