It is that glorious time of year again, when Christmas tunes float through the air and holiday parties abound. It is also the time when the never-ending cakes, cookies, and sweet treats are in abundance. From Thanksgiving through the New Year our teeth are inundated with enticing items that can be bad for our oral health. Here at Travis Magelsen, DMD, your choice for family dentist in Monroe, WA, we want your holidays to be happy and healthy, so here are some tips to keep your teeth going strong all season long.
Limit Sticky And Chewy Items
Sticky and chewy foods can be some of the worst for your teeth during the holidays. Sweets, like taffy and caramels, can get caught in your teeth, and will immediately start collecting plaque and enamel-eating acids. Even natural items like dates, raisins, and dried fruit (I’m looking at you, fruit cake!) can get stuck and cause dental harm. So be aware of the amount of sticky foods you are eating and try to brush or rinse after you eat to make sure your teeth are taken care of.
Eat a Balanced Meal
It is critical to eat healthy fare as well as sweets this holiday season, not only for your whole body health but also for your teeth. The constant presence of sugar and carbohydrates in your mouth can harm your pearly whites. Try to balance their intake with foods like fresh vegetables and fruits when eating the larger meals, so you can give your mouth a break. Our mouths actually ramp up saliva production when we eat large meals, and this can help rinse away stuck food bits and also neutralize teeth-damaging acids.
Rinse Whenever You Can
Remembering to rinse can be a real help during holiday meals. This is especially helpful when eating highly acidic foods like sour candies or citrus, or highly acidic drinks like wine or coffee. Rinsing with water after eating these types of acidic foods washes away acids that can build up and cause tooth decay. Plus, your mouth will feel more fresh!
Pack The Toothbrush
Many of us take to the roads and skies during the holidays and this can affect our brushing and flossing schedules. Make sure you buy a travel toothbrush that you like and that will fit in your purse, car, or pockets so that you can quickly and easily get a brush in after those many yuletide parties. By making your oral health items easy to find and use, you can save yourself much money and pain down the line.
Be Cautious With Hard Candy
From candy canes to butterscotch drops, candy is all around us during the holidays. Though it can be very tempting to bite and chew these delicious morsels, a surprisingly large amount of dental injuries this time of year are due to cracking or chipping a tooth when biting down on hard candy. So if you are enjoying these sweet delights this year, make sure you avoid chomping down hard.
Eat Sugar-Free When Possible
Eating some sugar-free treats can actually help your oral health. Xylitol, a naturally derived substance, disrupts the harmful bacteria’s metabolic process of turning sugars to acids. This can really help limit cavities and tooth decay in your mouth. Xylitol is found in many sugar-free gums, mints, and even lollipops, so having a stash around during the holidays can be helpful.
All of the team here at Travis Magelsen, DMD wish you a happy and safe holiday season and very healthy teeth. Contact us if you have any questions!