Your Tooth-Healthy Holiday Season

avatarby Dr. Kim OkamuraLast updated Nov 2, 2015Category: Blog

Seattle dental emergency

Chocolate is actually better for your teeth than stickier options! Try to make it your first choice for holiday candy

With Halloween over, this week might feel like a reprieve from celebration – but it’s actually just the start! We’re officially entering the holiday season, and November and December will be a whirlwind of events, family time, and special treats. During this period, it’s easy to find your oral health getting lost in the shuffle. But your teeth need your attention now more than ever.

The holiday months tend to mean dental problems. Between the extra sugar you’ll be consuming, the less-stringent brushing and flossing, and the unexpected settings, patients are more often than not faced with dental emergencies. Trying to avoid a frantic, late-night trip to the dentist’s? It’s not impossible to keep yourself in fighting shape. Read on for our health-boosting tips, and get in touch if you have any questions about your own family’s dental care.

Enjoying Sweets – but Eating Smart

You don’t have to avoid candy, desserts, and other special occasion treats entirely. But you can find ways to enjoy them while still being cognizant of your teeth. A few of these include:

  • Being mindful of your consumption – A little sugar goes a long way. Try to keep track of your intake and alternate sweets with drinks of water or healthier foods. If you’re having something especially sweet, it’s actually good to wait 30 minutes before brushing, as the acids produced by the sugar can soften enamel.
  • Choosing chocolate – Chocolate melts quickly, and doesn’t become stuck to your teeth or lodged in difficult-to-reach spots. Plus, chocolate may have antibacterial properties, so it’s actually something that could have beneficial effects on your risk of tooth decay.
  • Eating sweets with meals – When you eat a full meal, your mouth produces plenty of saliva to rinse away problematic bacteria and acids. If you eat a sweet as a snack, you don’t benefit from the same amount of saliva, and bacteria remain in your mouth for longer. Try encouraging your kids to eat their Halloween candy after lunch or dinner, so that their teeth are better-protected.
  • Ditching leftover candy – After the holiday in question is over, your kids will happily eat their candy for a while – and then they’ll get tired of it. But if there’s still candy left, they’ll feel obligated to keep eating, even if they’re not really enjoying it. Try finding a creative use for that candy that doesn’t involve eating!

How to Avoid Dental Emergencies

Seattle family dentist

Regular dental exams are one of the easiest ways to avoid unplanned trips to the office!

So many of us have experienced that sinking feeling when you bite into a hard candy, then put your tongue over your tooth and find that something’s missing. This year, dental emergencies don’t have to put a damper on your celebrating. Just be sure to:

  • Stay on your regular exam schedule – It’s easy to skip dental exams, especially when you have as much going on as you do during the holiday season. But you should fight that instinct, and always keep your routine exams. If a filling is on its way out, you have the early signs of a cavity, or there’s another problem looming, we’ll catch it before it becomes painful or sneaks up on you.
  • Never use your teeth as tools – We know it’s tempting to bite into a bottle or package instead of taking a moment to search for the scissors or bottle opener, but it’s just not worth it. Your teeth aren’t built to withstand that kind of force, and you should only put them up against food.
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Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.
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