It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Friends, family, great food, and plenty of treats to keep us as stuffed as Santa Clause himself. But even during these best of times, too many holiday goodies can really damage our pearly whites.
Whether it’s indulging a bit too much on Christmas chocolates, sugary eggnog, pies, and other seasonal delicacies or using your teeth like a tool to wrap up those presents, you can find yourself in a world of pain come 2020. Don’t end the year on a bad note, instead, make sure to stay diligent over the next couple of weeks so that you can leave the year with a smile as white as the North Pole.
Your McAllen family dentists at Heroes Dental want to help you keep your teeth healthy throughout the season with these 7 fantastic tips and tricks. Remember, Santa Clause is coming to town and you don’t want to be written down on his naughty list for failing to keep up with your dental hygiene.
7 Tips to Keep Your Smile as White as Snow
1. ‘Tis the Season for Good Oral Hygiene
Your Christmas plans may be full of hectic festivities and scrumptious feasts, but you should still take the time to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once. With multiple family get-togethers, it can be hard to know exactly when and where you’ll be able to get some time to take care of your teeth. If you’re worried about being away from home for long periods of time, take some travel floss, toothpaste, and toothbrushes with you for emergencies.
2. Your Better Not Cry, You Better Checkup
It can be hard to fit in a dentist appointment right in the middle of the holidays, but skipping out on a regular checkup and cleaning is as bad as the Grinch stealing Christmas. You may have some dental issues that need attention and failing to seek out care can lead to bigger problems down the road.
3. Treat Your Teeth like Ornaments…Gently
No matter what season, never use your teeth as a tool. During the holidays, that means don’t use your teeth to crack nuts, open bottles, or open presents. Using your teeth as a tool weakens the enamel and fragile edges of your teeth. One bad move and you can crack, chip, or completely lodge your tooth out of place.
4. Be Prepared like Santa’s Elves
You should have some supplies with you just in case you do damage your teeth in the midst of winter festivities. Floss and pain relievers can be useful for minor damages, but you should still look up your nearest emergency dental clinic in more serious situations.
You do not want to delay treatment even if you’re busy with holiday plans. Letting dental problems fester can make them much worse.
5. A Little More Water, a Little Less Eggnog
This is another tip that is just beneficial. During the holiday season, you may be tempted to enjoy sugary drinks (or alcoholic beverages) a little more frequently. These types of drinks can leave film on your teeth, which bacteria love to eat, ultimately leading to a cavity.
Instead, drink water between any drinks (and meals) you’re having to help clear away any particles still caught on your teeth.
6. Eat Healthy like Santa’s Reindeer
Sadly, there are some Christmas foods that may cause your teeth some trouble. Below are some foods to avoid or which should be eaten in moderation. If you (or your little ones) do decide to eat the treats on the list below, be sure to brush and floss right after:
- • Candy canes/hard candies: These can do the same kind of damage to your teeth that cracking a nut can.
- • Caramel: The stickier the treat, the more likely it will do damage to your teeth.
- • Sugary baked goods: This can be a hard rule to stick to with so many parties and festivities going on but all those sugars can lead to dental health issues.
- • Dried fruit: This is another potentially sticky treat that tends to stick in those hard to reach places in your teeth and become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
- • Sugary drinks – Sodas aren’t the only culprit in this category; watch out for eggnog and hot cocoa too. These sweet drinks lead to a higher risk of tooth decay. Tea and milk are both good alternatives: milk is full of calcium that helps your teeth stay healthy and tea can actually clean the bacteria from your teeth!
- • Alcohol – Alcohol can actually cause dry mouth, bacteria’s best friend! If you opt for wine this holiday, you may want to stick to white wines. Both red and white wine can cause stains and holes in your teeth, but red wine is full of strong pigments that soak into the porous surfaces of your teeth, a recipe for stains. White wine does still come with its own risks: this drink has a high acidic content that erodes the enamel of your teeth.
7. Santa Still Wants You to Have Fun
While that list of risky foods may be looking pretty long, there are still plenty of delicious treats on the menu. Below you can find a list of foods that can actually help your teeth rather than harm them.
- • Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, and milk are all at the top of the list of healthy Christmas foods. Eating cheese can help boost saliva production, which helps prevent tooth decay and keeps your enamel in shape. Plus, each of these foods is full of calcium, which helps to keep your teeth strong.
- • Fruits and vegetables: The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps keep your teeth free of food particles. Watch out for canned fruits, however, which have a much higher sugar content. High fiber foods like broccoli also increase saliva production, adding another level of protection against cavities.
- • Nuts: Nuts are one great alternative to the sweets listed above. Nuts are high in healthy fatty acids that help prevent gum disease. Just remember to use a nutcracker!