At Potomac Dental Centre, we love the holidays. The food, the decorations, the events, the songs:
♪ On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me —
12 Drummers Drumming,
11 Pipers Piping,
10 Lords a Leaping,
9 Ladies Dancing,
8 Maids a Milking,
7 Swans a Swimming,
6 Geese a Laying,
Wait…don’t be stuck singing that version this holiday season! Here are our tips to keep up your oral health during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, or any other celebration.
#1 Be Wary of Candy Canes
Hard candy, such as candy canes and peppermints, are yummy and seem to be everywhere around the holidays, but unfortunately they can chip or crack your teeth if you bite down too hard or just a little too off. To avoid damaging your smile, it’s best to let candies dissolve before biting down — let them soften a bit. But be sure to remember to brush your teeth completely after eating any kind of candy.
#2 Limit Red Wines
If you’ve spent the entire year whitening and brightening your teeth, the last thing you want to do on New Year’s Day is wake up wondering why your once-white teeth are suddenly a pale-ish pink color. Yes, red wine, like the delightful cranberry juice in those New Year’s Eve cosmopolitans, is high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. Both, however, are powerful teeth stains that can swiftly destroy all of your good work from the previous year.
White wine poses less of a threat to your pearly whites. If you must drink red, do it with food to reduce the amount of red that lands on your teeth. If you’re going to wear reds, make sure you brush them well.
#3 Snack on Cheese
If you’re consuming alcoholic beverages during a party, choose cheese as a snack. The pH balancing properties help to balance the acid found in alcoholic beverages, and the calcium is beneficial to your dental health.
In between sips, snack on a chunk of cheese to reduce the acidity. The alkaline in the cheese neutralizes the acid in the beverage, demonstrating the truly miraculous nature of food science. Best of all, they’re both delicious!
#4 Keep Gum with Xylitol or Cinnamon Handy
Look to buy gum that contains xylitol. It has been proven that xylitol consumption reduces tooth decay and gum disease. The molecular structure of xylitol inhibits the growth of the harmful bacteria, S. mutans, on tooth surfaces, prevents the generation of tooth decay-causing acid, and balances the pH of saliva and plaque. All things that protect the integrity of your smile.
The ingredient “cinnamon aldehyde” is found in cinnamon gum. This is the essential oil that gives the gum its crisp, peppery flavor, but it accomplishes so much more than that. It can also track down and eliminate harmful bacteria that cause cavities. In between brushes, this is an excellent technique to keep bacteria to a minimum.
#5 Avoid Extra Sugar Between Meals
During the holidays, we frequently leave food and various treats out all day. Grazing for long periods of time can put your teeth at danger of decay. Instead of leaving snacks out all day, simply take food, especially pastries, candies, and desserts, out at mealtimes and then put it away.
#6 Keep Your Water Bottle Handy
Soda seems to be abundant at holiday parties, and this sugary beverage is never good for your teeth. Instead of soda, try fizzy water if you want something bubbly. Water can help with digestion and excretion as well as freshening your breath. Water has the ability to clear away newly produced bacteria, ensuring that you don’t wake up with a sore tooth and an emergency trip to the dentist.
#7 Don’t Slack Off on Your Daily Oral Health Routine
Set an aim to follow your daily oral health regimen as closely as possible.
Chances are that you won’t be sitting around at home twiddling your thumbs too much over the holidays. And when you finally get home each night, you won’t be too eager to carve out time for brushing, flossing, and gargling.
So, what are your options? Packing a little to-go teeth cleaning equipment that you can carry with you to parties is one of the finest concessions. This will not only help you remember to brush your teeth during this particularly stressful time of year, but it will also make you rescue-ready if you end yourself with spinach dip trapped between your two front teeth.
Look forward to starting the new year with a clean bill of oral health by just putting out a little more planning and work around the holidays.
#8 See a Toothpick? Use a Toothpick!
Toothpicks are all around. They can be found in holiday appetizers, sandwiches, the front of a restaurant, and in the top pantry shelf you may have forgotten about. Toothpicks are great tools to loosen and remove food and plaque stuck between your teeth and along your gums! If you see a toothpick this holiday season, reach for it and use it.
#9 Keep Sugar-Free Cough Drops Around
Have a tickle in your throat? Need to cleanse your palette? Craving something sweet? By keeping sugar-free cough drops around the house or in your pocket, you’ll have an alternative to the endless amount of sugary foods or candies that are around every corner during the holiday season.
#10 Eat More Turkey
Turkey is one holiday treat that is delicious and excellent for your teeth. It’s high in phosphorus and protein, which can help your body fight tooth decay and maintain your smile allowing it to be healthy and strong.
#11 Don’t Use Your Teeth as a Present Opener
Packages to open, tape to put on presents, and a slew of other items you might be tempted to break open or cut with your teeth are all part of the holiday season. But it’s not a good idea! This activity weakens the enamel and the more delicate edges of your teeth over time, resulting in cracking and chipping, and may even lead to expensive cosmetic smile repairs.
#12 Schedule a Cleaning for After the Holidays
The surest way to remove extra plaque and sugars from your teeth is to come in for a professional dental cleaning. During the cleaning, we’ll also inspect your smile for any stains, cracks, chips, or cavities that may have arisen from eating all those holiday goodies.
Don’t start the new year with cavities or oral pain! Use these 12 tips to keep your smile healthy throughout this season. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!