The holidays are a joyful time for many, but they also bring potential health risks to your teeth. In particular, your dental health can be at risk due to the excess of sweets and alcohol consumed. Here are six teeth-saving tips to help you out this holiday season.
Smoking has a direct link to gum disease, which is the number-one cause of tooth loss. Since all of the shopping and planning required around the holidays can make it a stressful time of year, many smokers increase the frequency of their smoking to try combating stress. Protect your teeth by quitting your smoking habit as soon as possible. Each cigarette further increases your risk of developing gum disease.
Avoid Sugary Hard Candies
The holidays are filled with hard, sugary candies like peppermints and candy canes, but these are some of the hardest on your teeth. Sucking on these candies exposes your teeth and gums to loads of sugar, which increases your risk of cavities and can cause extra plaque buildup linked to gum disease. Chewing on hard candies such as these can lead to a broken or chipped tooth if you aren’t careful.
Rinse Your Mouth After Consuming Acidic Drinks
Consuming acidic drinks, including fruit juices, sparkling beverages like seltzer water, and many alcoholic beverages, can have severe consequences for your teeth. The acid in these drinks can cause acid erosion, which is when the tooth enamel becomes thinned or destroyed due to acidic conditions in the mouth. This weakens your teeth, which can make them more susceptible to disease, and also makes them more sensitive to pain. One way to combat acid erosion is to rinse your mouth out with water after drinking acidic beverages. This simple step takes only seconds, but it can help neutralize the acids and protect your teeth.
Opt For Light-Colored or Clear Beverages
Don’t invest time and money into teeth whitening and brightening all year long only to have them become discolored from dark beverages. Red wines and cranberry cocktails can quickly undo all of your hard work in getting your smile bright. Opt for light-colored or clear drinks that are just as tasty and won’t leave your teeth looking anything but white.
Make an Extra Effort to Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water each day has many health benefits, and this is especially true during the holidays.
- Skin Perfecting – Water can help you look and feel your best by keeping your skin looking fresh, hydrated and blemish-free.
- Weight Loss – Attack of the sudden sweet tooth? Water can help to curb your appetite by filling you up. Drinking a glass of water before meals and snacks will help to control your appetite, so you don’t have to add “go on a diet” to your New Year’s Resolutions list.
- Teeth Cleaning – Water also aids in freshening your breath by washing away harmful bacteria. Cleaning away freshly formed bacteria on your teeth can also keep you from waking up with a holiday toothache.
Give Yourself Extra Time to Brush Properly
The way you brush your teeth is vital to your oral health. Take your time when brushing to ensure you are moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque effectively. If left unremoved, plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis.
Schedule a Post-Christmas Checkup
By following these six tips, you can help protect your teeth during the holiday season. You don’t need to avoid acidic drinks and sugary candies completely, but it’s best to consume them in moderation.
Sometimes despite our best intentions, there will be times throughout the holiday season that you will skimp on your oral hygiene routine, or find yourself in a dental emergency. Schedule your post-holiday cleaning and exam with Dr. Kim Okamura DDS so you can begin the new year with a healthy and cavity-free smile.