The holidays are full of busy schedules, indulgent meals (with extra dessert!), and late nights. No matter how tired you are, though, it’s important to keep up with your oral health.
Here are six tips to help you maintain your dental routine during the holidays.
1. Prevent stained or yellow teeth.
It’s no secret that coffee, soda, and wine stain your teeth. Try to drink a glass of water in between each serving to rinse your mouth. You can also use a whitening toothpaste to brighten your smile. Grab one that is endorsed by the American Dental Association. It can take several weeks to show results, so be patient. Better yet, schedule an in-office cleaning and check-up for the new year!
2. Be smart about your snack time.
There’s no reason not to enjoy a few extra treats throughout the holiday season! However, rather than snacking on homemade cookies from your co-worker throughout the day, try to enjoy one or two shortly after mealtime. Your saliva production increases during meals, helping to remove food particles and neutralize acids.
Additionally, just like your muscles need to rest after a hard workout, your body needs time to digest your food. If you’re struggling to stop yourself from grabbing another holiday treat, take a walk around the block or read a book for 15 minutes to distract yourself.
3. Turn your dental routine into a habit.
If you stick with a particular order to your bedtime routine, you’ll be more likely to follow-through with every step. Start your dental routine after you’re in your pajamas but before you sit down and get too comfortable. It’s hard to get up to brush and floss once you’ve started another holiday movie!
4. Avoid holiday foods and drinks that may damage your teeth.
Pay attention to foods with added sugar, which often leads to tooth decay, cavities, and other health problems. Some examples include egg nog, baked goods, and candy canes. Watch out for sticky and hard foods too, like caramel taffy or candied nuts. These items may break your teeth, crowns, fillings, or dentures.
We often forget that drinks can have added sugar too! Anything that’s not water can be acidic and erode your teeth. You can still enjoy your favorite peppermint mocha or cranberry margarita; just sip in moderation.
5. Brush your teeth after eating.
If you can, wait 30 minutes after you finish a meal. This waiting period prevents you from brushing natural acids around, which can cause tooth erosion. If you’re at a party and don’t have your toothbrush, swish water in your mouth and chew a piece of sugar-free gum.
6. Remember that your teeth are not tools!
It can be tempting to use your teeth to cut the tags of your new holiday pajamas or open the impossible top on a jug of orange juice. Don’t do it! This habit can lead to weaker enamel over time. Plus, it can cause your teeth to crack or break in the moment — and a dental emergency is the last thing you need this holiday season! Instead, take a few extra seconds to grab a pair of scissors.
Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your next appointment! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, dental anxiety, and more.