The holidays are upon us, and they can be incredibly hard on teeth. The season not only means seeing friends and family, it also means gathering around for heavy meals and irresistible treats that not only impact your waistline but also your teeth.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your oral hygiene in check, and keep you out of the dental chair these next few months.
BRUSH AND FLOSS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Though seemingly a simple everyday task (or inconvenience, depending on how you view oral hygiene practices), brushing and flossing your teeth often during the holiday season ensures that your teeth stay clean and healthy. While this won’t completely stop tooth decay from overindulging, brushing and flossing reduces the effects of everyday wear and tear on teeth. Flossing at least three times per day on holidays is important to get rid of food particles, which can cause decay and other dental problems. Try to brush your teeth half an hour after eating, drink a lot of water, or chew some xylitol gum to get rid of food particles stuck to your teeth. If you’re going to be traveling and staying away from home overnight, remember to pack a toothbrush and floss.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have floss where you celebrate ask your host where they keep the tooth picks. Although toothpicks can damage your gums if you are not careful, they can also be very helpful if removing sticky foods and loosen plaque.
STICK TO TURKEY, SWEET POTATOES, & VEGGIES
It’s safest to stick to the turkey, sweet potato, and vegetables while avoiding sweets and soft breads. The protein in turkey has phosphorous, which, when mixed with calcium and vitamin D, strengthens teeth and bones. The sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C, and B6, all which are good for your teeth. However, make sure to cut- out the marshmallows and syrup.
Also, vegetables served as sides such as carrots, snap peas, and Brussels sprouts are teeming in vitamins that can give you healthier gums. It’s still important to brush your teeth after eating even if your stick only to these types of foods as they do contain some plant sugars. Also particles from any kind of food can adversely affect your teeth.
AVOID SUGARY STICKY SIDES
This is tough, but it’s best to stay away from the sugary sides as much as possible. Sugar can do quite a number on your teeth. Cranberry sauce specifically is singularly damaging to teeth. However, if you can have fresh cranberry sauce with significantly less sugar, the flavonoids in cranberries can prevent plaque build up and get rid of bacteria. Make sure to eat the cranberry sauce with firm or crunchy foods that can pull the sticky sauce away from your teeth as you chew.
Sides and deserts like pecan pie and even mashed potatoes can your teeth’s worst nightmare. The sugar can stick to your teeth and foster bacteria that can eat through your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot resist these sugary foods, make sure to wash out your mouth with water frequently.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT AFTER NEW YEAR’S
Call us and schedule an appointment after the holidays. Even if you take all the advice stated above and religiously follow them, it’s still a good idea to visit us for a cleaning. If you had dental issues before chances are the holidays have made matters worse.
Even if you brush and floss regularly, some bacteria and plaque may be more stubborn than you can handle. A post-holiday checkup with your dentist and a cleaning is a great way to start the new year.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.