9 Oral Health Wellness Tips for the Holidays
Get through the holiday season unscathed.
For most people, the holidays are an especially trying time when it comes to taking care of our health. We tend to forget our routine, indulge in foods we wouldn’t typically eat, and let some of our good habits go by the wayside. These changes can not only affect our waistline and energy levels, but they can also lead to poor oral health. To help you make it through the holidays without acquiring some new cavities or other oral health problems, follow these tips:
1. Avoid chewy candies.
Caramel, taffy, and other chewy treats may be delicious, but they tend to stick to your teeth and eat away at the enamel. They are also notorious for pulling out existing fillings. While you may be surrounded by leftover Halloween candy and dishes of treats set out at parties, try and limit how often you reach for the chewier options.
2. Don’t use your teeth to crack nuts.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people require a dentist appointment after trying to crack a nut with their teeth. Bowls of mixed whole nuts are another staple of holiday parties, but they are usually accompanied by a metal cracker. No matter how strong you think your teeth are, think about your oral health — use the nutcracker!
3. Don’t open packages with your teeth.
Yes, it is exciting to receive gifts over the holiday, and the first thing you want to do is tear into the packaging, but don’t use your teeth to rip plastic or other packaging materials. Take the time to grab some scissors or a box opener and avoid having to visit the dentist for a root canal to repair a cracked tooth.
4. Don’t skip dental appointments.
The holidays are a celebratory time when we get to spend special moments with friends and family, but it can also be hectic and stressful. There are more demands on our time, which can make it tempting to skip or reschedule regular cleaning appointments. However, it is important to continue to prioritize your oral health even during this busy time of year.
5. Stay hydrated.
We tend to feast over the holidays and wash it all down with eggnog, wine, and other alcoholic drinks. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which can leave you dehydrated. A dry mouth then leads to more bacteria and causes cavities and bad breath. If you are going to drink, be sure to follow every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. You will feel a lot better in the morning and will discourage the growth of bacteria.
6. Stick to your routine.
While it is more difficult to maintain a routine during the holidays, this is the time when it is most important to fall back on a tried and true routine to maintain your health. If you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day, be sure to stick to this pattern. Stay the course and enter the new year with healthy teeth.
7. Know who to contact in an emergency.
Your usual dentist may have limited hours during the holidays. If something does go wrong and you need emergency treatment, you want to have a backup in place. Start by asking your current dentist for recommendations about what to do if you need help after hours or during a holiday. Having an emergency plan in place can save you a lot of worry and stress during a crisis.
8. Everything in Moderation
The holidays wouldn’t be quite the same if you denied yourself sweets and beverages that are known to stain teeth, like coffee and wine. The key is to have everything in moderation and follow up with optimal oral hygiene. Feel free to partake in all the holiday meals and treats, but practice self-control, and be sure to brush and floss regularly.
9. Eat cheese, milk, and yogurt.
Instead of talking about what you shouldn’t be eating, let’s get down to what you should be bringing to parties and snacking on. Dairy products, like cheese, milk, and yogurt, actually work to reduce the acidity that comes with carbonated and alcoholic drinks. These foods can be helpful in protecting the enamel of your teeth, so swap out the cookies for a cheese plate, and enjoy a protein-rich snack that your teeth will love.
There is no denying that staying healthy over the holidays can be challenging, but with the right tips and a plan in place, you can survive this busy time of year without compromising your oral health. If you have more questions about your oral health or you want to schedule your next teeth cleaning and checkup, contact Berrien Dental today. Our experienced team is ready to help.