Oral Hygiene Tips for the Holidays from Precision Dental
As we enter the holiday, Precision Dental would like to offer everyone our holiday best wishes and tell our patients how happy we have been to serve you in 2019.
We look forward to continuing that service, both for new patients and for old friends, in 2020 and beyond.
But as dentists, we are also a bit concerned about what the holidays can mean for your oral health.
Holidays can mean more sticky, hard, sugary and chewy food.
These foods are threats to your teeth, which means during the holidays you should also pay very close attention to your dental health.
This means, at home brushing twice daily and flossing once.
Finally, this time of year brings an uptick in dental injuries, so be careful.
With that in mind, here are a few dental health tips to protect your oral health throughout the holidays. And into the new year.
Let’s start with our holiday diet.
Eat the right food
Avoid sticky, chewy, acidic, or sugary foods.
That includes the candy canes (which are both hard AND sticky!), ice cubes, mint chews, taffies, chestnuts and other holiday treats.
These foods are not only unhealthy, but they can damage teeth, dental restorations, and dental appliances.
If you do occasionally indulge, help your mouth by brushing, rinsing, or using chewing gum to clean your teeth.
Limit sweet time
If you do eat sweets, limit how long you graze, and eat them with meals.
Studies have proven that you are better able to neutralise bacterial acids during and after meals because eating increases saliva production.
Give yourself permission to splurge a little, to enjoy the delicious seasonal foods.
But, balance indulgences with fruits and veggies (carrots are a particularly great choice) that help clean your teeth.
Eat plenty of whole grains and drink plenty of water, which also cleans your teeth. Your mouth and wallet will thank you!
Drink the right drinks
Holiday parties feature a collection of alcoholic and soft drinks that can harm teeth.
Sodas have high acid levels and are full of sugar.
If you’re a fan of carbonation, reach for sparkling mineral water rather than soda.
If you drink soda, a straw helps keep acid and sugar away from your teeth.
In general, don’t drink too much alcohol as it dehydrates the body and leads to dry mouth, which keeps saliva from protecting your teeth.
Also, remember dark-coloured drinks (e.g. red wine) can stain.
Don’t use your teeth as tools
Teeth are good at some things, but they are terrible tools. They do not make good tools.
Using your teeth to open packages, bottles, or snacks is dangerous, and tape should be cut with scissors. Nutcrackers exist for a reason.
Use your teeth to smile and eat; that’s what they are best at!
Drink lots of water
The holidays lead us to overeat and overdrink, which often comes at the expense of water consumption.
But water is key to our health, including our dental health – it helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Drink fluoridated water and your tooth enamel can actually strengthen!
Choose dark chocolate
If you’re going to eat chocolate, as many of us do, choose dark chocolate instead of milk or white chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonoids that are good for your teeth and your overall health.
Make traditional holiday treats a bit healthier
This is primarily a substitution strategy. Delicious cookies and holiday pastries can use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
Substitutions exist for almost anything bad for your teeth, and the Internet is your best friend when it comes to finding them.
This also works for foods that you buy – there are healthier versions for most everything, and you can find them with an Internet search.
Make the foods your kids and friends love, without costing them any of their dental health.
Dental-safe stocking stuffers
It is pretty traditional to stuff stocking with sweets and, particularly if you have children, you’ll probably put a few in the stocking.
But you can also fill a stocking with fun, useful, and interesting dental items.
Buy oddly flavoured floss, novelty toothbrushes, or branded toothpaste. Every bit of candy you can replace is a win!
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