The holidays are a special time to be with family, loved ones and create lasting, happy memories. And inevitability, from Thanksgiving through the new year, you will probably find yourself surrounded by mounds of cookies, tables of treats, egg nog, pies and more. We already know that consuming too many sugary treats can increase your risk of plaque build-up. And with a busy holiday schedule, you may be wondering how you can stay more mindful of your oral health this winter. Well don’t worry – read on for some helpful tips to protect your teeth through the holidays.
- Choose more vegetables.
Not only do they contain nutrients that will protect your gums, but crunchy vegetables can help clean plaque from teeth too. Also, whole foods are minimally processed, and provide vitamins and nutrients critical to oral health (as opposed to treats and snacks that break down into sugar and get stuck on teeth for longer periods of time).
- Choose water over sugary drinks.
As you know, most holiday events serve sodas, sports drinks, alcohol and juices that are loaded with sugar which are notorious for damaging your teeth. Additionally, they have little nutritional benefit. Instead, a simple solution would be to limit these drinks and opt for water. Water is also a great way to wash down foods to limit bacteria. As a reminder, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not serving juice to any child under the age of one.
- Carry Dental Floss.
Food (especially meat) can often find its way in between your teeth. And since flossing is proven to be effective when removing debris from between teeth, it’s a great idea to carry dental floss with you to remove any remnants of holiday food left in your mouth. You are also removing plaque buildup and protecting your teeth from potential cavities.
- Limit Starches and Sugars.
Starches and sugars left on your teeth are prime breeding grounds for bacteria. Try to limit your intake and don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water after eating (it’s best to actually brush or floss right after to minimize potential damage). Keep in mind that some of the worst offenders are sticky or hard sugary foods as they creep into the crevices near your gums and are harder to remove. The longer the sugar stays on your teeth, the more you are exposed to potential harm.
- Visit Your Dentist.
Yes the holidays are busy, but it’s also a great time to visit your dentist for a check-up. As a reminder, the American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least once a year to get a professional teeth cleaning. If you have periodontal issues, your dentist may recommend teeth cleanings more often.
For more ways on how to protect your teeth through the holidays, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Together, you can create a plan that will keep your mouth clean and healthy. Find a dentist here.